Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...
Two men jailed for sending parcel bombs to Celtic manager Neil Lennon and other high-profile supporters of the club have lost an attempt to have their convictions overturned. Trevor Muirhead, 44, and Neil McKenzie, 43, were jailed for five years in April last year for conspiring to assault Lennon, former MSP Trish Godman and the late QC Paul McBride by sending devices they believed were capable of exploding and causing severe injury. McKenzie, from Saltcoats in Ayrshire, and Muirhead, from Kilwinning in Ayrshire, tried to have their convictions quashed at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh, where a hearing in the case was held in December. Their legal teams argued there was insufficient evidence to allow the jury at the trial to find that the pair believed the packages were capable of exploding. But three senior appeal judges ruled that both convictions should stand. During a brief hearing, judge Lord Menzies told the court: "These appeals are refused."
Dundee keeper Scott Bain has signed for Hibs. It was an open secret that the 26-year-old had been frozen out at Dens Park after a bust-up with manager Neil McCann a couple of months ago. The Easter Road club have snapped up Bain until the end of the season, when his contract at Dens Park runs out. Bain said: “I am delighted to be joining up with Neil Lennon’s squad. “From the outside looking in the side have had a fantastic first half of the season, and I hope to help them build on that in 2018. “It’s a strong group of players and I am excited about meeting everyone in Portugal for the training camp. Hopefully I can hit the ground running and force my way into the manager’s thoughts.”
Neil Lennon believes some of his players departed the Amsterdam ArenA “with regrets” following their damaging 1-0 defeat by Ajax which leaves their Champions League hopes up in the air. The Hoops were far from their best in the crucial Group H encounter and were sunk by a 51st-minute strike by Lasse Schone who had scored after coming on as substitute in the Dutch side’s 2-1 defeat at Celtic Park. The defeat consigned Lennon’s men to the bottom of the table with three points from four games. Ajax moved above the Parkhead club on four points with Barcelona having qualified on 10 points following their 3-1 win over AC Milan at the Nou Camp. The Italians visit Celtic Park later this month before Celtic play Barcelona away in December. While there are still various permutations available, Lennon’s men will be out of the Champions League if they lose to Milan. The Parkhead boss admitted the match was an “opportunity lost”. He said: “Some players will have regrets because they were nowhere near their best and at this level you can’t have that. “We could have done better with the final ball and that has been a concern for the last few weeks. “We missed some decent opportunities, particularly the James Forrest one when were two-on-one. “You were thinking ‘goal’ and that would have got us back in the game. “Goals change games and from their point of view it was good but from our point of view it was a poor goal. “When Schone scored we were just getting a foothold in the game. “It could all flip round if we beat AC Milan and Barcelona come here and take something off Ajax. “But it is imperative that we beat Milan at Celtic Park if we have are to have any chance of qualification.” Ajax coach Frank De Boer believes Celtic still have a chance of making it out of the group with Barca. He said: “Celtic still have a chance, they are still only two points behind Milan. “There was more pressure on us after the game in Scotland so we are relieved.”
Dundee United have been drawn against Celtic in the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup. United, fresh from their derby victory over Dundee on Sunday, will play Neil Lennon’s men on either April 13 or 14. The other tie will see Hibs play Falkirk. Both ties will be staged at Hampden, with the final on Sunday May 26. (more soon)
Celtic manager Neil Lennon has been cleared of driving while using his mobile phone. Lennon, 42, was accused of the offence while driving a black Audi Q7 car on Glasgow's High Street on July 26 last year. Stipendiary Magistrate Josephine MacLean ruled that there was no case to answer following a trial at the city's Justice of the Peace court. The judge accepted an argument from Lennon's solicitor that the Crown failed to provide the evidence necessary to convict him. She told Lennon: “I uphold the submissions that there is no case to answer. You are not guilty, you are free to go.” The football boss thanked the judge before leaving court. His solicitor, Liam O’Donnell, said after the trial: “Neil is pleased that the matter is concluded and accepts it was a misunderstanding.”
Celtic boss Neil Lennon has apologised to St Johnstone counterpart Tommy Wright for discussing one his players but insists he was right to claim Perth striker Steven MacLean went down easily against the Hoops on Saturday. Lennon’s men notched up a 2-1 win over Saints at Celtic Park, and survived a late penalty scare when MacLean hit the deck following a challenge by Anthony Stokes. Referee Alan Muir waved away the St Johnstone appeals, while Lennon claimed MacLean “has a tendency to go down easy at times”. That angered Wright, who felt Lennon a close friend should not be talking about his players. But the Celtic boss said: “If I have annoyed Tommy and he’s a very good friend then I apologise to Tommy. “We were talking about a specific incident in the game that may have changed the course of the game. I called it as I saw it. There was no offence meant.” Lennon was unhappy with Stanley Menzo boss of Belgian outfit Lierse SK for criticising on-loan Hoops striker Tony Watt for his lack of fitness and work rate. The Parkhead manager agreed that Watt still has to prove himself as a top-rate frontman, but insisted any criticism should have been kept in house. “I haven’t seen Tony play for a while but the reason he has gone on loan is to get experience,” said Lennon. “He is a bit short of physical conditioning, but that is down to Tony himself.” Celtic will kick-off their bid to land the Scottish League Cup for the first time since 2009 with a third-round tie against Morton at Parkhead. Lennon is desperate to land the only domestic trophy he has yet to win. He said: “The League Cup was the first competition that I won as a player here and first I won as a captain, so it does have some significance for me personally.”
Neil Lennon’s next challenge as Celtic boss is to change the perception that Champions League success this season has rendered the Hoops’ Clydesdale Bank Premier League campaign “mundane.” Celtic will discover next Thursday who they will face in the last 16 of Europe’s elite club competition after qualifying out of Group G along with winners Barcelona. Buoyed by that achievement, they stretched three points clear of Inverness at the top of the SPL last week with an impressive 3-1 win over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park. However, that was in stark contrast to previous performances on the domestic front, especially in some of the matches which have been played in front of a less than packed Celtic Park. Indeed, against St Mirren on Saturday, the champions will be looking for their first home league win since the beginning of October when they beat Hearts 1-0. With European football on the backburner until February, Lennon wants his side to start providing the Parkhead fans with some exciting SPL fare. “We have achieved something very special and now we can concentrate on SPL duties,” he said. “Everyone thinks it is pretty mundane compared to the Champions League but I wouldn’t say mundane, I think it is our priority and it is important that we start to play like the champions we are, consistently in the league. “You can look for all sorts of reasons and excuses for it (the home form), but it is something that we need to remedy and we want to remedy. “Our away form has been fantastic but sometimes the atmosphere at home, particularly after the European games, is obviously flatter. “The weight of expectation and the heavy load of games plays its part in that, but we have to start playing better at home.” The Northern Irishman may have trouble convincing Hoops fans that the Buddies offer a serious challenge. Danny Lennon’s side have not scored a goal against Celtic since he took over as Saints boss in 2010 and were beaten 5-0 in Paisley in October. However, Hoops boss Lennon is mindful that Kilmarnock’s 2-0 win at Parkhead the following week was Killie’s first triumph in Glasgow since 1955 and dismissed the notion that he is already anticipating three points. “I think St Mirren are a good model for a lot of SPL clubs. While results haven’t been great, the product on the pitch has been good to watch. “They are dangerous.”
Neil Lennon revealed how he and his Celtic players have come to terms with returning to domestic duties following Champions League games by adopting a minimalist approach to training. The Hoops have often struggled in the wake of big European nights, evidenced last season when they took one point out of six in the two league games following their clashes with Barcelona. However, this season Lennon’s side have taken 16 points from six post-Champions League games. Saturday’s 2-0 home win over Motherwell, thanks to goals from Anthony Stokes and Kris Commons, came on the back of Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat in the Champions League to Barca at Parkhead and took them top of the Scottish Premiership. The Celtic boss, who expects Adam Matthews to be out for around three months with a collarbone injury sustained in a hefty first-half challenge by Well skipper Keith Lasley, said: “We have curtailed the training down to a minimum between the games. “We basically do nothing with them. The only bit of football we had was an eight-a-side game on Friday. But they all looked in good condition and in good nick. “It was an exceptionally good performance against a very good Motherwell team and the quality of the football was good.”
Neil Lennon has stood down as Celtic manager. The former Hoops midfielder's agent Martin Riley confirmed his exit from the Scottish Champions on Thursday afternoon. Reports suggest Lennon has been considering his position at Parkhead for some time and has decided to part company with the club after talks about his future. The Northern Irishman has won the league on three occasions and the Scottish Cup twice during his time in charge. He has been linked with the vacant manager positions at Norwich and West Brom.