NEIL Lennon has revealed he will ask Celtic to hand him some of the Scottish record £25 million transfer fee they have received from Arsenal for Kieran Tierney to strengthen his squad – and wants to sign up to five new players.

The Parkhead club, who had rejected two bids from their Emirates Stadium counterparts this summer because they failed to meet their asking price, finally reached an agreement to sell Tierney on Wednesday evening.

The 22-year-old Scotland defender put pen to paper on a five year contract with the Premier League outfit after travelling to London and passing a medical yesterday.

Lennon, who is bidding to lead Celtic to a record-equalling ninth consecutive Ladbrokes Premiership triumph this season, admitted that he will be looking to use the windfall to bring in a replacement for Tierney as well as other players in a variety of positions.

“It’s a lot of money,” he said. “I’ll be standing with my hands out. We’ll look to bring another left-back in, no question. And a right back as well. And a left winger. And a right winger. And maybe a centre forward.”

Lennon, who has been linked with a move for Kilmarnock and Scotland left back Greg Taylor, believes he will have no difficulty luring quality replacements as well as outstanding young prospects to Celtic in the coming weeks as a direct result of the Tierney sale. He feels it shows the high level a player can get to if he performs well at Parkhead.

His treble treble winners are in a strong position to reach the Champions League play-off against Slavia Prague later this month after drawing 1-1 with CFR Cluj in the first leg of their third qualifying round in Romania on Wednesday evening. He anticipates the prospect of getting into the group stages will strengthen his hand during transfer negotiations as well.

“We want to keep making Celtic an attractive proposition for any player,” he said. “We feel we are making steps in the right direction on that. This (the Tierney sale) is a brilliant advertisement for the club and the academy. If we can get into the Champions League then we become a very attractive proposition for a lot of players.”

Meanwhile, Lennon admitted he was unsurprised that the Isle of Man-born footballer, a passionate Celtic fan as well as an important first team player, had joined Arsenal.

Tierney, who has significantly increased his wages by signing for Unai Emery’s team, has been heavily criticised by some supporters of the treble treble winners for leaving at the start of such an important campaign.

But his former manager, who played in the top flight down south for Leicester City before moving to Celtic, felt that his departure was almost inevitable and expressed hope that he will do well at the Europa League finalists.

“These things tend to take their natural course, from my experience,” he said. “It’s a real wrench for him to go, but it’s progression, isn’t it? We don’t all see it as that, but financially he’s going to be in a better place and he’ll be playing in the Premier League. It’s a great place for him to play and thrive at another great club.

“The opportunity may never come again. The kid has lofty ambitions and the next step for him is to play in the Premier League. It’s more about his football ambition as well as financial.

“If does go he goes with our best wishes. He’s been a brilliant player for us and obviously he’ll be a big loss to us. But you don’t want to stop what you would say is his natural progress. He’s an outstanding kid and it’s been a difficult four or five weeks for him personally. If it gets confirmed them we wish him well.”

The Northern Irishman, who helped Leicester win promotion to the Premier League under Martin O’Neill before moving to Celtic in a £5.75 million transfer in 2000, believes the defender will flourish and take his career to a new level in the coming seasons.

“He can go all the way,” he said. “We forget he’s 22 so he’s not even matured fully yet. He’s got so much ahead of him. He’s been outstanding for Celtic and Scotland. It might be difficult for him to adjust to because of his home life in Scotland and how much he loves Celtic, but it’ll be a new challenge for him.”

Arsenal had two bids for Tierney turned down this summer after failing to meet Celtic’s valuation and Lennon sensed that uncertainty over his future had unsettled a player who was attempting to regain full fitness after undergoing a double hernia operation and struggling with a pubic problem. He expects him, though, to hit peak form quickly down south after the deal was concluded yesterday afternoon.

“This might be a big weight off his mind now," he said. "I just told him to keep calm and just to try and stay in the present and not envisage what it’s going to be like. It can easily run away from you. He just had to let things take its course. We have a resolution which is maybe a relief for a lot of people around it as well.”