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Neil Lennon says Celtic won’t enter an arms race with Rangers

NEIL LENNON says that Celtic won’t be drawn into an arms race with Rangers, with his focus entirely on improving his own squad rather than worrying about what is going on at Ibrox.

Celtic have spent £7m on centre-back Christopher Jullien and £3m on left-back Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo this summer, as well as bringing in Luca Connell from Bolton Wanderers.

Rangers, for their part, have brought in seven players so far in this window, and are poised to spend £3.5m on defender Filip Helander, whose signing is expected to be confirmed today.

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But while Lennon admits that Celtic might end up competing with their city rivals for the same players, he isn’t going to concern himself with who Steven Gerrard is adding to his squad.

When asked if he felt there was an arms race developing between the clubs, he said: “No, not at all.

“I can’t affect what Rangers do. It’s not one of those situations where if they spend £4million then we want to spend £8m. It’s not like that.

“We just want to get the right players in if the price is good and we think there’s quality and re-sellable value in them as well.

“We have to focus on ourselves. You can’t affect what’s going on elsewhere. You can’t – and we won’t.

“We might [be competing for the same players] be but that creates its own issues. Sometimes agents play one against another and I don’t want to get involved in any of that nonsense either.”

Lennon is still hoping to add more players to his squad before the start of the league season, and ideally before the deadline for the second round of Champions League qualifying, which falls on July 18th.

“We’ve got four or five days and you can do a deal in three or four hours,” he said. “It’s a question of whittling it down, is this the right price, the right age, the right wage. We have to filter that all down and we have been agonising over a lot of players over the last two or three weeks.

“We want to get it right. Not just for the sake of short-term.

“There’s a position that we’d like to bring two in for the one position. Maybe a younger one to develop and one that is ready to hit the ground running, a loan or permanent.

“It will depend if we have any bids for our players. Then we have to take a view on it if it is the right thing for the club to do. We have to have options if that eventuality comes along.

“There’s a lot of work being done in the background. We had a four-hour recruitment meeting on Wednesday on two positions. It’s quite energy sapping sometimes.”

While not welcoming bids for any of his first-team regulars, Lennon says that there may be some fringe men who move on.

“We’ll trim the squad here and there as we go along,” he said. “But nothing concrete at the minute.”

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