When Neil Lennon made his Celtic departure in the summer of 2014, it sent shockwaves through the Hoops support.
According to the Guardian back when he left the club, Lenny had apparently become disillusioned with the lack of challenges in Scottish football. He also reportedly believed he had taken Celtic as far as he could.
He went on to manage financially-stricken Bolton Wanderers in the Championship. It would prove to be the wrong decision for the Hoops icon too. Lenny lasted 17 months before leaving and went on to rebuild his reputation at Hibs.
Now, he finds himself having done a complete 360 and is back at Parkhead better than ever. Speaking in the Scottish Sun, Lenny admits he wouldn’t change a thing, but stated he doesn’t want to leave Parkhead again.
“I had my reasons for leaving at that time. I don’t regret it because it was the right thing for me to do at the time. But I wanted to bring those big European nights back to Celtic Park.
“The Lazio win was the perfect storm for a European game at Celtic Park. The game matched the atmosphere, the occasion, the performance and the result.
“Once you get a taste, you want the players and the fans to get more nights like that because we all enjoy it. It makes me never want to leave again. But I’m older and wiser now. I’ve got a second crack and I’m really grateful for the opportunity.”
If Lennon keeps this up, big-hitters will give him a decision to make
Lennon’s success this season has perhaps gone under the radar due to how close the title-race is. But outside of the invincible treble campaign, this is the best start we’ve had to a campaign in years.
Celtic dropped points to Hibernian and Livingston back in late-September and early-October respectively. Outside of those two freak games, Celtic have been imperious.
Lennon has taken charge of 27 Celtic games so far this season. 21 of them have ended in victory with just two resulting in defeats. That’s a 78% win record for the Bhoys boss so far (Soccerbase).
If Lennon keeps up this kind of form, and backs it up with trophies as the season goes on, he’ll eventually end up a wanted man for other clubs. That’s just how football works. Only at that point will we see just how much Lenny wants to stay in Glasgow.
But it’s clear he’s cherishing every moment of being the top man at Parkhead once again. Performances have been scintillating, whilst results have been better than many expected.
He likely won’t want to go anywhere until Celtic reach the fabled 10. And that potential target gives Lennon a chance to make himself immortal at Parkhead. No wonder he doesn’t ever want to leave again.