NEIL LENNON has denied he has made a come-and-get-me-plea to clubs in the Barclays Premier League.

The Celtic boss admitted in an interview he wants to manage down south.

He added he was disappointed he had never received any offers to test himself there, despite his achievements with Celtic, including taking them to the last 16 in his first crack at the Champions League.

Lennon was attempting to make a case for all British managers, not just himself, as he perceives a bias towards employing bosses from abroad.

But the 42-year-old - who was appointed Celtic manager four years ago this week - refutes any suggestion he was making some kind of gie's-a-job- plea to chairmen and owners of Premier League clubs.

He said: "No, absolutely not. You answer a question honestly, and people can construe it any way they like."

Lennon does not deny that managing in England is on his to-do list. But, he is in no hurry to make the step across the border, and continuing to rebuild his Celtic side to strengthen their grip on the Premiership and make a bigger impact in the Champions League is where his focus lies.

The man from Lurgan, who spent the first dozen years of his playing career down south, put his wish to manage in England into context, explaining: "I just think it is ambition, at the end of the day. My work is not finished here yet.

"But, I think the majority of managers in Britain would like to have a go at the Premier League. Whether that ever happens to me or not, I don't know."

Lennon is within four points - less if Aberdeen fail to win at Ross County tomorrow night - of securing his third straight league championship. But, he is aware the reputation he has worked so hard to build in his first shot at management is constantly under scrutiny.

Even wrapping up the championship in record time, as they can do this week, and setting a new points total, as they will do if they win all remaining eight games, will not bring the same kudos as winning against top teams in the Champions League.

To that end, the team-strengthening which Lennon believes is required if they are to improve on this season's disappointing performances in the group stage, is about to be stepped up a gear ahead of the transfer window re-opening.

Lennon is looking to bring in four or five players, but admits that even shopping in the English Championship is proving expensive for the Hoops.

Reports from Portugal indicate that Benfica's matches have been closely monitored for the past few months.

However, Lennon insisted he has no knowledge of any specific target at the Lisbon club.

He said: "There's nothing I am aware of. We have got scouts everywhere, and Benfica are a top team.

"But, affordability might be a problem."