Neil Lennon has admitted he may not be in the Celtic dugout vs Hearts

By David Walton

February 27, 2019

New Celtic interim manager Neil Lennon has confirmed he may not be in the dugout tonight as Celtic prepare to face Hearts at Tynecastle.

Lennon was only appointed as interim manager last night after Brendan Rodgers’ departure to Leicester City. Yet, it was this afternoon that Lennon was paraded and unveiled at Paradise.

There’s clearly no rest for the weary either after a whirlwind 24 hours. Lennon’s Celtic take to their first-match under him against Hearts at Tynecastle. Except, it may not actually be Lennon who’s in charge of the Hoops.

Neil Lennon has still to decide whether he returns to the dugout tonight (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The new interim manager spoke at his press conference today on the subject. Speaking at the presser on Celtic TV (4:55), Lennon touched on the plans for tonight.

“Possibly (on whether he’ll be in the dugout). I’ll discuss it with the guys later on. I haven’t had the chance to see the players yet.

“John obviously has prepped the team. He know what goes on behind the scenes, the routines of the players, training programs. I’ll be relying on John a lot.

“Whether I’m in the dugout or not – we’ll see.”

A chance for Kennedy to make his mark

It doesn’t sound as though Lennon has even thought about the dugout tonight. It’s evident that any and all preparation for Tynecastle has come from Kennedy.

Therefore, in a way, this is a fine chance for the new Celtic assistant manager to show what he’s all about on the touchline. An impressive win and performance tonight would certainly go a long way to gaining the overwhelming support of the Celtic faithful.

Lennon and John Kennedy took part in an over 24-minute press conference today (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Flipping the coin, however, a failure to take maximum points won’t reflect greatly on him either. Kennedy knows all about the players currently at the club, it makes total sense he would be the one preparing for this contest.

Therefore, don’t be surprised to see the same faces and formation we have done since the return from the winter break. Any shock returns to the starting line-up would probably have to wait until Saturday after Lennon has met the players and taken in a training session or two.

Lennon and Kennedy’s presser was a nice moment for everyone connected with Celtic. The pair are clearly close, and Kennedy’s love for the club is clear.

Tonight, it appears the man Rodgers left behind has his chance to prove he has a strong tactical brain of his own. Let’s now see what he’s all about.