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By ESPN Staff

Celtic fringe players give Lennon food for thought

Neil Lennon claims his Celtic fringe players gave him some positive "food for thought" in the 2-1 friendly defeat against AZ Alkmaar at Parkhead on Wednesday night.

Lennon, the club's interim manager, totally changed the team which beat Dundee United 2-0 at Tannadice on Sunday for the visit of the Dutch side, managed by former Rangers boss Dick Advocaat.

Paul McGowan, Paul Caddis, Ki Sung-Yueng, Zheng Zhi and Edson Braafheid were just some of the Celtic players making rare appearances.

With only around 3000 fans rattling around the 60,000-capacity stadium there was a surreal feel to the match which saw Georgios Samaras shoot the home side into the lead in 39 minutes only for Graziano Pelle to level three minutes later.

In the 74th minute AZ Alkmaar substitute Jonathas De Jesus scored from the spot after Celtic left back Edson Braafheid had handled in the box but Lennon disregarded the scoreline to praise his players.

"It was a really worthwhile exercise," he said. "A lot of the players have given me food for thought. I'm concentrating on the league games but this game was a wee bonus for me in terms of some of the performances.

"A lot of them haven't played for a while and so it was good for them to get out and play against quality opposition and they did themselves no harm. We looked comfortable and created a lot of good chances.

"After losing to Ross County I asked them to prove me wrong and some of them are doing that and that's all I can ask."

Lennon insists he will recruit his own mentor if he is handed the job as Celtic manager on a permanent basis.

There has been speculation a senior figure may be brought in to help the Irishman's development if the Hoops' board decide to keep him on.

However, Lennon stressed that if someone was to come in to help, he would want to have the final say.

"I would like to think that if I was to get the job that I would be permitted to pick my own man," he said. "Obviously if you get a job like this you want to get it right and you like to have your own people around you."


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