JOHN Hartson acknowledges that the Celtic supporters are split right now on whether Neil Lennon should stay on as manager. But should the Northern Irishman lead the club to a historic treble treble in the next few weeks, he feels they might rather be stuck down the middle with him than anyone else.

With the BetFred Cup already in the bag, Celtic need a solitary point from their remaining three matches to be crowned top flight champions for an eighth successive season, with Hearts still to come in the William Hill Scottish Cup final.

If performances haven’t been uniformly scintillating since Lennon took over from Brendan Rodgers, Hartson insisted yesterday that they weren’t exactly sensational before he left either. See things through this season and his friend and former team-mate would have done everything which could have been asked of him. Having proved himself a safe pair of hands, surely it would be more risky to parachute someone else in from outside?

“It’s divided,” said Hartson, speaking as the great and good of the sport gathered at Trump Turnberry for his foundation’s charity golf day. “The feeling I get is that the fans love Neil, he’s a legend, he started this off, he’s one of our own, but, I’m not too sure if I want him to be the one to take us on.

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“There are names on their lips, some of the big managers,” he added. “But all I would say from Lenny’s point of view, is that he should go and do the business, keep the team motivated and get over the line. Then he can say he’s excelled in the role by winning the league and the cup.”

As a friend and former team-mate, Hartson is firmly in the Lennon camp. But he admits the club are mulling over other options besides.

“I would like Neil to continue as manager, but there are other candidates out there,” said Hartson. “There’s four or five that I won’t say, but off the top of my head, I know they would come to Celtic and do a great job.

“Neil would also do a great job, it just comes down to whether he’d get the decision.All he can do is bring it all home in terms of the Treble. Then he can go: ‘Don’t give this job to me at your peril’. ‘I’ve done everything asked of me”.”

Considering his backstory at the club, you could consider it somewhat surprising that Lennon is not the unanimous choice to continue in the role.

“At the start of the season, we lost four or five games, I believe we hadn’t lost that many in the two previous seasons,” said Hartson.

“So I don’t think there is a blame game here that you can onto Neil. You can’t say the football isn’t great and it’s him because the football wasn’t great for a couple of months even when the previous manager left.

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“Okay, people will question the football not being great. We were poor here, or poor there. But it’s not been great all season. We’ve ambled at times.

“The club was turned upside down a couple of months against when Brendan Rodgers decided to walk out. The club turned to one man. They had options but they turned it Neil Lennon.

“Neil is unbeaten as a manager since he came back. There’s a feeling that the football hasn’t been the best as he’s drawn a couple of games and has needed a couple of last minute winners. But I don’t think the football has been scintillating all season.

“I believe he has become a better manager with his time away from Celtic. He went to Hibs where he took them up first to around into the Premiership. In the first season there, he was excellent. He beat Celtic and Rangers twice at Ibrox along with other really big games.

“He proved at Hibs by finishing in the top-six that he can manage outside of Celtic, where people you say you have the best players, all the best earners and all of the internationals. Neil had a few problems at Hibs this season which were well documented, but when Celtic went for him and needed him the most, he was there.”

**John Hartson was speaking at The John Hartson Foundation Golf Event at Turnberry. In its ninth year, The Hartson Foundation helps to raise awareness on testicular cancer and will go through the £1million this year on funds raised.