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Lennon turns to Smith for advice

August 13, 2010

Neil Lennon will look to Walter Smith for guidance on how to survive the pressures of being manager of an Old Firm club.

Neil Lennon, Walter Smith
SNSNeil Lennon will be looking to get the better of Walter Smith

While Rangers boss Smith goes into the new season looking to clinch his third successive league title - to add to the numerous other trophies he has won in his two spells at Ibrox - Lennon begins his first campaign as Hoops boss.

As caretaker manager at Parkhead following the departure of Tony Mowbray in March, Lennon finished the season in good form, notwithstanding a shock Scottish Cup semi-final defeat to Ross County.

But already knocked out of the Champions League this season, Lennon knows the "honeymoon period is over" and he will ignore traditional Old Firm rivalries and look to his Ibrox counterpart to see how to negotiate the weeks and months ahead.

"I got a taste of it (last season) but it's totally different now," he said. "The honeymoon period is over and I'm bringing in my own players now.

"The Celtic fans demand the title every year. It's pressure but I've had pressure here for ten years as a player and coach. It will be a bit more isolated on me but I'm ready for it and looking forward to it.

"I look to Walter for how he has handled things. He was good enough before I became manager to hand out little snippets of advice that were invaluable and still are. I have a tremendous amount of time for him.

"He's in a good place. People say he is under pressure but, with what he has achieved in the game, I don't think he feels the pressure any more. He is probably in a place where he even actually enjoys the job now.

"Even though the pressure is on to win the title, he has done it so often in so many different situations. We're in the same boat so there is a certain amount of empathy for each other. You respect each other's positions and what we have to go through."

Smith believes only those who have bossed Rangers or Celtic will understand the demands of the job.

"It's the same all the time with Old Firm managers," he said. "Everyone else in the league will say that's where they want to be working but it's only when you're there that you encounter the difficulties.

"Respect is something I've always had for Celtic managers. It's the same with Neil. He is just starting out. It's his first managerial job. My first job was at Rangers, so I know exactly what he'll be going through.

"The competition doesn't stretch to a personal level because we have knowledge of what each other has to endure over the season."