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Celtic manager Neil Lennon wants to keep focus on their own affairs

Updated: Wednesday, 11 Jul 2012 16:15

Celtic boss Neil Lennon wants the Hoops to keep focus on their own club rather than the crisis at Rangers
Celtic boss Neil Lennon wants the Hoops to keep focus on their own club rather than the crisis at Rangers

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has urged the club and its supporters not to allow outside negative influences to have an impact ahead of the new season.

Lennon was referring to the situation surrounding newco Rangers and the rejection of their application to the Clydesdale Bank Premier League, with the Hoops' Old Firm rivals still unsure of which level of the Scottish Football League ladder they will enter this campaign.

Reigning champions Celtic were one of many SPL clubs to vote against Rangers' admission into the top flight but Lennon is keen to put the issue behind him and wants the fans to do the same.

"We cannot let outside negative influences dictate the mood at Celtic, we are very optimistic and we are very much looking forward to the season but we need our fans right with us," he told the club's official website.

"We are now looking forward and not back, we have a vibrant young team, I want to progress this team as far as I can but we cannot do this without the fans' support.

"We must now move on, and move on with a collective unity between the supporters and the club and the team. We enjoyed that unity last season and we now need this to continue more than ever."

Reports have suggested that Celtic's financial stability is reliant on their Glasgow neighbours, something the club itself has rebuffed, but Lennon admitted everyone needs to do their bit and implored supporters to keep following the team.

He said: "We now know what the situation is and where we are and it is a situation we must now deal with.

"We need to stand strong, shoulder to shoulder and all work together to continue to move the club in the right direction.

"We will need the supporters to be right behind the team. We want as many fans as possible to come back to the club and take their seat at Celtic Park and invest in the club as much as possible."

The former Northern Ireland international refused to be drawn on whether he believed Rangers should enter the Irn-Bru First Division or start from the bottom tier of the SFL and has set the same high standards for his players.

"The club took its position on the Rangers situation last week along with all the other SPL clubs and it was confirmed that Rangers would not play in the SPL next season," he said.

"Clearly, in terms of where Rangers do play, that is now a matter for others to decide upon, it is something we have no control or influence over.

"Our priority is the same and we've approached the year the same way as ever.

"There will be no slacking off or complacency, we have a lot to look forward to and that's what we are preparing for, but I need to be very clear, we need our fans with us every step of the way."

Celtic are currently in Germany preparing for the upcoming season and one player on the trip has already outlined his immediate targets.

Wales international defender Adam Matthews is hoping to build on his first season at Celtic Park and establish himself as a member of Lennon's first team.

"I feel like I established myself in the squad last year so hopefully I can do it again this season," he said.

Matthews has travelled to the continent despite suffering from a hamstring problem and is hoping to be fully involved as soon as possible.

He said: "Hopefully it won't keep me out too long. I started running today so hopefully I'll be back in full training at the end of the week or the start of next week."

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