Celtic: Boss Neil Lennon says returning to club was a 'no-brainer'

Neil Lennon was paraded at Celtic Park on Wednesday morning

New Celtic manager Neil Lennon says he does not want to be compared to predecessor Brendan Rodgers.

Lennon, appointed until the end of the season after Rodgers left on Tuesday to become Leicester City boss, described the decision to return to a job he held from 2010-2014 as a “no-brainer”.

“I’m very, very grateful to be here,” said the 47-year-old.

“I don’t have all the answers, and certainly I don’t want to be compared to Brendan.”

He added: “I know some people will do that as we go along, but Brendan has his way and it has been fantastic, and I have my way.”

Lennon led Celtic to three titles during his first spell as manager. Having left Hibernian last month, he will be considered for the role long-term.

Celtic are eight points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership, face Hibernian in the Scottish Cup quarter-final on Saturday and have already retained the Scottish League Cup this term.

“The board have put the faith in me to see out the season,” Lennon added.

“It’s been a whirlwind 24-36 hours. The most important thing is the club. We’ve lost a manager who will go down as one of the greats and I’ve got big shoes to fill obviously. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

‘You dream of coming back’

Lennon says he is “not as volatile” as he was when he first became Celtic manager in 2010.

“I wanted to take on the world when I first took over,” he said. “You learn from that, you mellow from that.

“Coming back – you dream of it. You don’t believe it. One day I was hoping I would walk back through the doors. It’s come sooner than I thought, but it’s come.”

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The Northern Irishman, who also won two Scottish Cups during his time in charge of Celtic, will be assisted by first-team coach John Kennedy and former Republic of Ireland international Damien Duff.

Former midfielder Lennon made 214 appearances for the Parkhead club in a seven-year spell before leaving in 2007.

Rodgers won all seven domestic trophies available to him after taking over in 2016, and the club have won seven titles in a row.

“Brendan has certainly raised the bar – in terms of trophies anyway,” Lennon said. “Everyone is talking about 10. I’d just like to get to eight first and take it from there. That’s the most important thing for me and I’m not looking too far ahead.

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“I’ve been on good behaviour this year. I’ve had no issues with referees or linesmen, to the point that I was voted on to the committee.

“Earlier in my career I wanted to take on the world – with a big chip on my shoulder. It’s not a chip now, but I still have something on my shoulder. I like to have that edge. But in terms of my behaviour, I will monitor that as best as I can. It’s maturity, it’s experience. Obviously you don’t want to be here now and sit in the stand and not be able to do your job properly – so I’m very aware of that.

“The thunder is here so I don’t need to bring that back. Just bring some trophies back. That would be the remit. That’s what I’m looking forward to do. I’m looking forward to a real good end to the season.”

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