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Bantz: When Neil Lennon Signed For Rangers

Northern Irishman and passionate Celtic man Neil Lennon once contemplated the unthinkable.......or did he?

Jan Kruger

New Bolton Wanderers boss Neil Lennon has a bit of devil about him, that much is clear.

Ahead of his final game for his beloved Celtic back in 2007, Lennon pranked his agent - Martin Reilly - that he was leaving the Hoops to sign for arch-rivals Glasgow Rangers.

Teammates Chris Sutton, ex-Wanderer Alan Thompson and Jackie McNamara were in on the joke.

Reilly admitted:

"It was the best laxative I've ever had. My gut was in turmoil."

Lennon put Reilly through hours of agony, saying he was at the Gers' Murray Park training ground for signing talks.

The story goes:

"Neil met up with Chris, Alan, Jackie and their Glaswegian pal Liam Donnelly, they phoned Martin at 8.30am from the back of a car in Dublin."

Lennon blurted out:

'You've got to get down to Murray Park - I'm signing for Rangers.'

Lennon then told Reilley that he was there with Kenny McDowall, who moved from Celtic to Rangers as a coach recently. Liam pretended to be Kenny and was saying:

'Martin, you've got to get down here - we're offering Neil £50,000 to sign for us and he's agreed.' "Martin was saying, 'No, this isn't a good move - this isn't happening. This is bad. There are too many problems with it. Neil won't be able to stay anywhere.'"

Reilly phoned Lennon back - only to be told he was dead keen on the move. Reilly told him:

"You'll need to buy a house in Ireland and travel back and forward to training because you won't be able to walk the streets if you do this."

Lennon responded:

"Martin, I can't say no to the money - and they're going to double your fee."

Reilly insisted the deal was still not worth it and announced he was coming down to Murray Park straight away. Lennon warned him off, claiming the Press were there and had got wind of the deal. He said he would phone Reilly back - but left the agent dangling for several hours.

A source said:

"Even when they called back, Liam came on pretending to be McDowall and said it was a done deal.

"He said the Press were still there and told Martin to approach the training ground - but hide round the corner. So Martin drove to a local filling station, bought a paper and parked up, waiting for the call "Finally they called and told him to proceed to Murray Park.

Chris Sutton kept up the ruse, shouting:

'Good morning, Rangers Football Club'

Reilley picked up on this in the background on his phone, making it sound more plausible.

The other two were shouting players' names and things like, 'Dado, Dado, you've to get in to the treatment room right away,' to give it the buzz of training.

The first call was at 8.30am and they didn't put him out of his misery until lunchtime."

Lennon bowed out at Celtic after captaining the side to the Scottish Cup.

Reilly said:

"They took the mickey right out of me and it was brilliantly done.

"I swallowed the whole thing - hook, line and sinker."