John Hartson believes Neil Lennon's managerial inexperience should not be held against him when his suitability for the post of Celtic boss is assessed.
The Irishman was promoted from taking the reserves to interim manager last week following the departure of Tony Mowbray whose short and ignominious tenure ended with a 4-0 defeat at St Mirren.
Lennon's chances of being given the job on a permanent basis were given an immediate boost with a 3-1 win over Kilmarnock at Parkhead on Saturday.
Former Celtic striker Hartson, who played at Parkhead between 2001 and 2005, was back in Glasgow to launch a new business venture and he gave his backing to his former team mate.
"Players can only get experience by playing and it's the same with a manager," the Welshman told Press Association Sport.
"How is Neil going to get experience if he is not given a chance?
"I know people will say that it is a massive club but he knows the club, he played there for seven years and under two great managers.
"Mark Hughes took over the Welsh national team when he was 37. That was his first job.
"Look at what he has done since with Blackburn and Manchester City and he is quite sought after.
"So at the end of the day, the only way you get experience is by being given the chance."
Hartson, who continues his recovery from cancer, believes that Lennon is in pole position for the job.
"I think it's Neil's job to lose now," he said.
"It didn't work out for Tony although I thought it was a match made in heaven, I thought he was perfect for the job.
"Not to be challenging at this stage and to have gone out of the League Cup and to have gone out of Europe so early, I'm sure Tony half expected the call when it came.
"You can't afford to lose that many games.
"But if a manager comes in and settles things down and starts winning big football matches and trophies then it is his to lose."