Celtic On This Day: The Neil Lennon era begins

By John Reid

March 27, 2020

Our On This Day series continues with a look back to 10 years ago today, the 27th of March 2010, and the beginning of a new Celtic era.

Ten years ago today, Celtic defeated Kilmarnock 3-1 in a routine victory. Nothing special about that you might think.

However, it was the very first game that was managed by Neil Lennon. The former Hoops captain took over on a temporary basis from Tony Mowbray, who had been sacked following the embarrassing 4-0 loss to St Mirren.

Lennon took over a Hoops team which had some good to very good players in the side. The likes of Robbie Keane, Scott Brown and Aiden McGeady were all in the squad.

Team were underperforming badly

However, the team were underperforming badly, and were miles behind Rangers in the league. Lennon was given his chance, and the team didn’t let him down on his first afternoon as Hoops boss.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon celebrates at Pittodrie / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Unsurprisingly, it was Robbie Keane, Celtic’s best player in season 2009-10, who made the difference on the day. He scored two fine goals to put Celtic in pole position for the three points.

The Hoops’ third goal was scored by Scott Brown, who would go on to become massively influential during Lennon’s time as manager.

Many players would go on to win trophies

When you look at the team selected by Lennon on the day, it features players who had already won and would go on to win a number of trophies with the club.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon and captain Scott Brown / (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

The likes of Artur Boruc, Georgios Samaras, Darren O’Dea, Lee Naylor and the likes of Brown and McGeady should have done far better that season.

However, it took the arrival of Lennon to get these players to go on a consistent run of form, and by then it was already too late to do anything about a title challenge.

Still, it will no doubt be a day that Neil Lennon looks back on fondly. After all, it was the beginning of a hugely successful managerial career with Celtic, one that is showing no signs of stopping.