Lennon surprised over snub to Celtic skipper Brown

NEIL LENNON was surprised to note Scott Brown had not made it on to the short-list for PFA Scotland Player of the Year.

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Kris Commons has goal touch
Kris Commons has goal touch

And now the Celtic boss is scratching his head in bewilderment that his skipper has been omitted from the SPFL Premiership Team of the Year, as voted by the players themselves.

The three Celts on the POY short list - Fraser Forster, Virgil van Dijk and Kris Commons - are there, plus the other contender for that prize, Kilmarnock's Kris Boyd.

They are joined in the Team of the Year by Graeme Shinnie (Inverness), Mark Reynolds (Aberdeen), Andrew Robertson (Dundee United), Stuart Armstrong (Dundee United), Peter Pawlett (Aberdeen), Stevie May (St Johnstone) and Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United).

As runaway league champions, more Hoops might have been expected to make this XI.

But with no-one from Parkhead on the shortlist for POY last year, Lennon is inured to such disappointments, and is at least relieved to see three of his Bhoys contesting the main prize, which will be awarded on April 27.

He said: "It's difficult to separate the three of them. I'd like to have seen Scott in there as well. I think he's had a fantastic season. But I'm delighted for those three, and they're probably the front- runners, as far as we're concerned.

"Kris Boyd has had a great season, considering where Kilmarnock are, to score the amount of goals he's done, and he's a worthy nominee as well."

The Celtic nominees are the spine of the side which has made it three titles in a row, and Lennon appreciates the job done by each this season.

He said: "Virgil has been a great signing, Fraser is one of the top goalkeepers in Britain now, and Kris has had a memorable season.

"Kris has got better as he's got older, and I think this has been his best season, although I'd say three out of the four he's been here he has been fantastic. We knew he was capable of getting goals, but were thinking maybe 15 or 16 max.

"To come back with 28 - important goals along the way and all different types of goals - is a fantastic return.

"Kris had a dip a few years back, but I think it was more mental than physical … when he came in at first he was flash, bang, so it was eating him up when he wasn't finding top form again. With maturity, he's taken a step back, looked at things, and adapted to the modern game."

Celtic have still to open talks with the 30-year-old over a new deal to replace the one which has just over a year to run.

But Lennon calls links with Leicester speculation and does not anticipate Commons making a rush for the door.

"We believe him when he says he wants to stay as he enjoys it here," said Lennon. who is planning a pre-season training camp for his squad in Austria.

Mikael Lustig is back in the squad for today's game at Motherwell, but Darnell Fisher's season is over after he underwent minor knee surgery.


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