Neil Lennon's emotional Hibs return must result in Celtic victory
Neil Lennon’s return to Easter Road will undoubtedly be emotional for the interim Celtic boss. However he must not let that affect his ability to guide Celtic to the Scottish Cup semi final.
The Northern Irishman spent two and a half years at the Edinburgh club and guided them back into the Scottish Premiership.
Lennon’s return to Hibs will be only his second game in interim charge of the Scottish Champions. It has been quite the week for the former Hibees gaffer.
Lennon’s departure from Hibs in January was one shrouded in mystery. There had been rumours of bust ups between Lennon and his players.
Lennon was suspended before finally leaving the club at the end of January.
The Hibs website released a statement confirming Lennon’s departure. Although he had left the club, neither the club nor Lennon took full responsibility for the exit.
The Hibs statement said: “They have not been dismissed and have not resigned,” when discussing the fate of Lennon and his longtime assistant Garry Parker.
Lennon was a hugely popular figure within the Hibs support during his reign. His return to Easter Road may well be one where he is greeted positively from all four stands in the ground.
However, Lennon is there for one purpose – getting Celtic into the semi finals of the cup.
Wednesday’s late win at Hearts was a show of defiance from Celtic in the wake of Brendan Rodgers’ exit to Leicester.
The show must go on and there is no time for Lennon to be caught up in the nostalgia of his return to his former stomping ground.
Football is a results driven business
There is every possibility that Lennon may actually have a bee in his bonnet over the way his Hibs reign ended.
He will have Celtic’s interests at heart first and foremost. There may also be a part of him desperate to show Hibs what they’re missing.
His job at Celtic should realistically start on Monday. Wednesday against Hearts and Hibs at Easter Road were always about digging in and winning both games.
There’ll be time for Lennon to put his on mark on this Celtic team. He must, however, have an interest in the Scottish Cup semi final draw.