Football

Neil Lennon – The Pros and Cons of a Celtic Return

Neil Lennon – The Pros and Cons of a Celtic Return

Ronny Deila will leave Celtic this summer, bringing the curtain down on the Norwegian’s short two-year reign in at the Glasgow club.

The weekend’s shocking defeat at the hands of Rangers in the Scottish Cup semi-final seems to have been a step too far for the club’s power brokers, with a statement issued confirming the news earlier today. 

Deila will be given the final five Scottish Premiership matches of the season out of respect, and an opportunity to seal his second successive domestic title.

And Neil Lennon – Deila’s predecessor – has already admitted he’d be keen to return to the club he loves, quickly throwing his hat into the ring.

But would Lennon returning be a good think for the Hoops? Here are the pros and cons attached to the potential move:

Pros 

He knows how to take on Rangers

When Lennon took over from Tony Mowbray in March 2010, Celtic were at their lowest ebb, and seemingly without an answer to Walter Smith’s merciless Rangers.

A full 10 points behind the Gers having played two games more, Lennon had a mountain of work to do and swiftly promised to bring the thunder back to Parkhead.

He soon turned things around and won three consecutive league titles, and two Scottish Cups, in his four-year reign.

Mark Warburton’s Rangers are on the warpath, and will seriously fancy their chances of mounting a challenge next season. Perhaps Celtic need a man that knows what’s needed to take on – and beat – the blue side of Glasgow.

He’s succeeded in Europe before

Perhaps the most undermining moments of Ronny Deila’s time in Glasgow was his results in Europe.

He had three cracks at qualifying for the Champions League and failed every time – including an embarrassing second bite at the cherry against Maribor in 2014, when Celtic were reinstated to the competition at the expense of Legia Warsaw. 

Defeat in the competition’s qualifying stages against Malmo followed this season, and Celtic’s Europa League campaign wasn’t up to much either.

Six games played, no wins and four defeats. The only time in Celtic’s history that the club has gone through a European group stage without a single victory.

Lennon has not only managed to qualify Celtic for the Champions League, but he’s even reached the last-16, and overseen an historic victory over Barcelona in 2012.

He signed most of the established players

Lets be honest about this, Lennon going back to Celtic isn’t going to take much getting used to – for the fans or the players.

The Northern Irishman signed and worked extensively with the vast majority of players already at the club.

Charlie Mulgrew, Craig Gordon, Nir Bitton, Kris Commons, Leigh Griffiths, Mikael Lustig and Stefan Johansen were all brought to Glasgow during Lennon’s tenure.

They’ll be no mass exodus if he returns – but there might have to be if the board looks elsewhere.

 

Cons

He’s just flopped in England

The one big question mark about Lennon is his rather disappointing recent spell in England.

When he departed Glasgow previously, he was supposed to be heading off for the bright lights of the Premier League, but instead found himself in The Championship’s basement battle.

He left Bolton Wanderers only last month, with the club 11 points from safety with nine league matches to play.

Bolton have since been relegated to League One, and despite the massive financial problems behind the scenes at the Macron Stadium, a perfectionist like Lennon will be bitterly disappointed how things turned out.

The reasons he left still exist

After his traumatic spell with Bolton, you can understand why Lennon would be yearning for some home comforts, but why return to Celtic?

He left because of very specific concerns surrounding the budget on offer, so why come back?

There’s no suggestion at all that he’ll have any more money to spend than before.

What if he gets sick and tired of the same old constraints a year, or two years from now? Celtic will be back to square one.

Time for a new era?

Would Lennon returning be a retrograde step for Celtic? Sure, he’s been there, done it and got the scars to prove it, but is it perhaps time to move onto someone new? Someone fresh and exciting?

The likes of David Moyes and Brendan Rodgers are available, and both have a point to prove. Just a mere 12 months ago, Celtic couldn’t have dreamed of hiring either manager, but circumstances appear to have thrown up an opportunity.

Surely it’s at least worth exploring if they’d be open to taking on the job?

What do you think? Would Lennon returning to Celtic be a good thing?

Let us know in the comments section below…

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