Celtic boss looking to future

Celtic could clinch their third successive SPFL title this week but manager Neil Lennon is already looking ahead to next season.

If Aberdeen fail to beat Ross County at Dingwall this evening, victory over Partick Thistle on Wednesday will secure the Hoops' 45th top-flight crown.

But Lennon admits their Glasgow rivals will prove a tough barrier to their championship aspirations as they concentrate on their own battle at the bottom of the Premiership table.

Speaking to Sky Sports News he said: "We're hoping the result goes our way tonight then we can look forward to Firhill. It's a very exciting time for us all and you can feel the anticipation that has been building here for the last few weeks.

"But Thistle will be difficult. They are still trying to avoid the relegation play-off spot and they have run us close in the previous two games. They have made a decent fist of things since coming up so it will be pretty difficult as both teams have a lot to play for."

With the title all-but wrapped up, Lennon is already looking towards next season and is planning to use a number of his squad players in the remaining eight fixtures.

The move worked last year as a refreshed first-team squad qualified for the group stages of the Champions League and Lennon is desperate for a repeat showing come July and August.

"The Champions League is paramount for us," he said. "The qualifiers start pretty early so if and when we win the league it's all about planning for those games.

"Hopefully we can again qualify for the group stages and try and improve on our performances this year."

On Monday, Sky Sports Scottish football expert Andy Walker claimed Lennon would be keen to test his managerial skills in England, having spent four years in charge at Celtic Park.

Walker said every Celtic manager had 'a shelf-life' and the time could be right for Lennon to try his luck down south.

But the Northern Irishman insists he is in no hurry to move on from the 'brilliant' job he has at Parkhead.

"I understand why people are saying this," he said, on the fourth anniversary of succeeding former manager Tony Mowbray.

"It is very intense... but I have a brilliant job here. I have brilliant people in the background working alongside me.

"It all depends on how much enthusiasm and enjoyment you get out of the job and at the minute I am very pleased and privileged to be the Celtic manager.

"Four years is a long time in football, but it has been a fantastic four years and plenty more to come."

Watch Partick Thistle take on Celtic live on Sky Sports 2 from 7.30pm on Wednesday evening