Neil Lennon plays down Celtic interest in John Sutton

Motherwell striker John Sutton
Sutton could be waving goodbye to the Motherwell fans this summer

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has played down suggestions that he is interested in signing Motherwell striker John Sutton in the summer.

The former midfielder was a team-mate of the 27-year-old Englishman during his spell with Wycombe Wanderers.

"John is a good player," said Lennon. "I've known him for a while.

"He has had a very good season, but it is speculation more than anything else. I am not going to talk about targets at the minute."

Indeed, Lennon added that he does not want any of his current squad to leave the club in the summer.

Gary Hooper, Anthony Stokes, Georgios Samaras and Darryl Murphy are all out-and-out strikers already at Lennon's disposal, while Morten Rasmussen is due to return to Celtic Park after his loan spell in his homeland with Danish outfit Aalborg.

And Shaun Maloney, Kris Commons and James Forrest can also be utilised in forward roles.

Sutton, whose older brother Chris had a six-year spell at Celtic Park, is Motherwell's top scorer this season but is approaching the end of his contract.

Well manager Stuart McCall was unaware of any interest from Celtic and has not given up hope of retaining the striker.

"Obviously John's agent is doing really well if he's got him linked with Celtic," McCall told BBC Scotland.

"I've got a good relationship with John and with his agent and we've obviously made the best offer we can.

"I've heard of interest from other clubs north and south of the border, but it's not over until the fat manager sings.

"I don't think anything will be resolved until after the Scottish Cup final, but I know they're going to let me know if they have decided anything.

"But there's a lot to be said for job satisfaction and enjoying your life.

"I had a good sit down with John a couple of days ago and just passed on my experiences.

"We're desperate to keep him. He's done a terrific job for us. But, if he leaves, he goes with our best wishes.

"He's been excellent for Motherwell and excellent for me.

"Nothing's cut and dried. I got linked to Inter Milan once and it never happened, so we'll wait and see."

Sutton started his career with Tottenham Hotspur and had loan spells with Carlisle United and Swindon Town before springing to prominence with Raith Rovers.

That led to a move to Millwall, but he struggled with the Championship side before shining again in Scotland on loan to Dundee.

In 2005, he moved to St Mirren, helping the Paisley side win promotion to the Scottish Premier League, before joining Wycombe in 2007, only for his contract to be cancelled by mutual consent after only a year.

Sutton returned to Scotland's top flight with Motherwell in 2008 and helped them qualify for the Europa League that season.

His 17 goals this term have helped the Fir Park side clinch a top-six finish in Scotland's top flight and qualify for the Scottish Cup final at Hampden, where they will face Lennon's side on 21 May.

Motherwell full-back Stevie Hammell is not surprised Sutton is being linked with a move to Celtic.

"I think he'd be a great signing for them, but obviously I want him to stay here because he's a big player for us and he scores lots of goals," he said.

"It's easy to see why teams are looking at him and getting linked with him because he's scored many important goals for us this season."

Top Stories