NEIL Lennon allowed himself a wry chuckle as it was put to him at his unveiling on Friday that the blue side of Glasgow might be celebrating his appointment more than the green half. Because there was at least one Rangers supporter whose opinion Lennon values who was dreading him getting the job.

Former Ibrox boss Graeme Souness is in full agreement with Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell, who believes that the choice of Lennon as permanent boss spells bad news for his old team.

Like Souness, Lennon has proven he is a winner, and the parallels between the pair don’t end there. It might not be immediately apparent to the outside world, but both men have mellowed with age, and Lennon has revealed that the Liverpool and Scotland legend has played his part in any success he has achieved as a manager, or that he will go on to achieve.

And one of the biggest parts of that will be his ability to handle the pressure of the Celtic job much better than he was able to first time around.

“[Souness] did change as he got older and I have spoken to him about it time and time again,” Lennon said.

“I don’t think he will appreciate me saying this, but we are sort of cut from the same cloth. We have a lot of ties to the city. I think he is a brilliant pundit anyway but as a footballer and a manager, I have great respect for him.

“He has had a good influence on me. We talk about the game a lot, off screen, on screen. I worked with him for two years in Ireland and he was a pleasure to be with. I respect him totally because he has done this, and he knows how difficult it can be.

“It is exciting [to be manager of Celtic again]. There will be dips, there will be lows, there are no grey areas with this job but listen I am well used to that and so are the board.

“I am nowhere near as aggressive as I was [the first time I had the job]. I wanted to take on the world back then and prove a point and that kind of stuff. That might have been detrimental to me occupationally-wise, so I have learned to deal with that and my temperament is a lot better for the job.

“I can do it, I have done it before.”

Lennon has learned that maintaining a degree of detachment from the non-stop scrutiny that comes with the territory in the often-madcap world of the OId Firm will be a key factor in maintaining his cool.

“You just have to park it because a lot of it is not real,” he said. “When you are in a public position you are going to get criticised one way or another. Whether you are a sports person or a celebrity or whatever. You can’t take it too personally.

“I have learned to stay really focused and in the present as a manager. I think that is really important as a manager, that you don’t get caught up in any of the hype. Which I probably did so when I was younger. That has been a real lesson learned.”

Stepping into the dugout knowing and understanding everything that comes with the job was undoubtedly a factor in Lennon landing the position. But it is not only the lessons from his first spell in charge that he is still carrying with him.

A nagging frustration at throwing away the league title in his first full season in charge, when his side finished a point behind Rangers having led the way at the top of the table, still clearly annoys him, and partly drives his will to succeed.

“I didn’t think there was much pressure on me [first time around], going up against a man [Walter Smith] who had been there and done it,” he said. “Because the expectation wouldn’t have been for me getting anywhere near to him.

“In the end, we missed a penalty at Ibrox to go five clear and that would’ve been game, set and match. So that would’ve been a hell of an achievement. He’s been one of the greatest managers in Scottish history, so I didn’t feel pressure because of that.

“The pressure is different this time because you’re more experienced. You’re off the back of winning the Treble, playing a part in winning a Treble so everyone is going to be coming for you. It’s natural, we expect that. You want to be at the front.

‘That season still nagging me. It’s the one that got away. I want to win it back.’