As Brendan Rodgers Leaves For Leicester City, 3 Reasons To Be Thankful Neil Lennon Is Back At Celtic
Though Celtic fans are rightly fuming at Brendan Rodgers’ decision to leave the Bhoys in the middle of their treble-treble pursuit for the presumably greener pastures of Leicester City, let us as a football community take the time to consider the bigger picture;
Out with a Northern Irishman, in with another one right off the bat.
Let there be a warm welcome (aside from Rangers and Hearts fans) for returning manager Neil Lennon, who has taken up the interim position at Parkhead until the end of the season.
One of the Hoops as a player for seven years between 2000 and 2007, two years after hanging up his boots as a footballer, Lennon was back at Celtic - this time in the dugout, taking control of close to 230 matches and wrestling the Scottish league title back from fierce rivals Rangers in his first full season in charge, and winning a further two in subsequent successive seasons before leaving in 2014. During his time he was also awarded SPL Manager of the Year.
A highly controversial figure who enjoys a good headline, what can we expect to see now Lennon is back on the touchline for Celtic?
Well, for one he won’t shy away from a good argy bargy on the sidelines.
Back in 2011, Lennon and his opposite number Ally McCoist clashed at Parkhead which saw handbags at dawn unleashed, with the ferocity and vitriol so apparent that the Scottish government eventually had to intervene in the aftermath.
Six years later he hadn’t learned his lesson when he got into some beef with Morton manager Jim Duffy while in charge of Hibernian, who he managed from 2016 until last month.
Lennon was seen to confront the referee Nick Walsh, with four men were ordered off the pitch; joker Kudus Oyenuga, Hibs’ captain Darren McGregor and their respective managers.
Lennon was still fuming with the press in his post-match conference.
Celebrations, remonstrations, and general lack of f*cks given
If an astonishing 5-5 result was already enough to grab attention, Lennon’s antics afterwards in the thriller between Hibs and Rangers made eyes popped. Hibs grabbed a point in May 2018 in the dying embers of the game and seizing the opportunity to taunt his perennial rivals, ‘aeroplaned’ across the Easter Road pitch to goal the travelling Gers.
Whilst this earned him a three-match ban from the dugout, similar antics in a 0-0 draw in the Edinburgh derby between Hearts and Hibs saw a coin from the crowd smack him right in his mug, as well as a hanging effigy outside Tynecastle. Nasty.
To his name, Lennon has eight Scottish league titles, as well as winning the Scottish Championship with Hibs two years ago to bring them back up to the top tier. Heart on sleeve a bit too much, yes, but memorably as well he produced perhaps the very best 125th anniversary present for his beloved Hoops when they broke a Barcelona squad considered to be the very best in all the land, winning 2-1.