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Neil Lennon: I'm your Bhoy, Celtic and an even better boss than when I left

By Steven Beacom

Published 21/04/2016

Ready for the fight: Neil Lennon
Ready for the fight: Neil Lennon

Former Northern Ireland star Neil Lennon has said he would relish a return as Celtic manager, to replace the departing Ronny Deila, insisting that if handed the post he would arrive at Parkhead as a better manager than the one which left.

Lennon is one of several candidates in the running to take over from Deila, who will exit Celtic at the end of the season after another disappointing campaign. The bookies' favourite is ex-Manchester United boss David Moyes, while Northern Ireland supremo Michael O'Neill and Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane also have admirers on the board.

Lennon enjoyed domestic glory and memorable Champions League nights in charge of the Hoops for four years before Deila succeeded him in 2014. He feels his recent managerial experience at Bolton, where he left last month, could help him make a triumphant comeback.

Lennon said: "I had 18 months at Bolton, which has given me a completely different spectrum to the game, so I think I am better off for the experience. I've a great affinity with Celtic. I would know what I'm walking into."

Lennon was speaking yesterday just outside Glasgow at the Foundation Golf Day of his old Celtic team-mate John Hartson which raises funds for testicular cancer.

His comments came shortly after the Parkhead club announced the Norwegian was on his way.

The 44-year-old added: “I’m not promoting myself for the job. I’ll leave that to the powers that be, but if I get the chance to speak to the Celtic board then I will.

“I am sure there will be a long list of people who will want the Celtic job because it’s one of the best jobs in football. I am sure the board will have names and candidates in mind and that will be the process going forward now.

“I would imagine they would want to find a successor as soon as possible with the Champions League qualifiers coming so early

again.”

Lennon said he had no regrets about leaving Celtic when he did declaring “the time was right”. It’s clear though that the Celtic fire inside him still burns brightly.

And after watching their side deservedly lose to Rangers on penalties in the Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden on Sunday,

Hoops supporters are desperate for some of the cheer Lennon brought them when he was their leader.

Even the likelihood of a fifth Scottish Premier League title in a

row and a second under Deila in a matter of weeks won’t be much consolation for Celtic supporters this season.

On Deila, Lennon said: “It’s been a roller coaster for him. I’m sure he will have enjoyed the fantastic experience of managing one of the greatest clubs around.”

Belfast Telegraph

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