English Premiership

New Celtic boss Lennon hails Rodgers

2019-02-27 20:45
Neil Lennon
Neil Lennon (AP)

Glasgow - New Celtic boss Neil Lennon has played down comparisons with Brendan Rodgers after taking over from his fellow Northern Irishman at the helm of the Scottish Premiership leaders.

The former Hoops captain and manager is back in charge of the Parkhead club for the rest of the season following Rodgers' sudden departure for Leicester on Tuesday.

Ex-Liverpool boss Rodgers garnered an unprecedented domestic double treble in his first two seasons at Celtic and, with the club eight points clear at the top of the Premiership, the Scottish League Cup already in the trophy room and a Scottish Cup quarter-final at Hibernian on Saturday, they are poised for a remarkable third.

Lennon won three league titles and two Scottish Cups in four years in a previous stint in the Hoops' hot seat between 2010 and 2014.

"It will take time for me to adapt and the players to adapt to life without Brendan," he told a press conference before his first game against Hearts on Wednesday.

"Tactically you learn the game as you go along. I don't have all the answers and certainly I don't want to be compared to Brendan."

"The most important thing is the club," he added. "They've lost a manager who will go down as one of the greats. I've got big shoes to fill.

"These opportunities come round once in a lifetime, and it's come round twice in a lifetime for me."

Rodgers' decision to walk away from Celtic at this stage of the season shocked supporters, many of whom instantly turned on their former hero.

However, Lennon, who left Hibs in January, had some empathy.

"I was surprised, maybe because of the timing, that was all," said the former Leicester midfielder. "From a professional point of view I can maybe understand it, to a certain extent.

"He has his ambitions. The Premier League is seen by many to be the top league in the world and he is going to a very good club that I know very well."

Lennon said he had mellowed since his first spell as manager at Parkhead but stressed that the desire to win had not diminished.

He said: "I'm not as volatile, I don't think. I wanted to take on the world when I first took over.

"I had a big chip on my shoulder. It is not a chip now but I still have something on my shoulder. I like to have that edge."

 

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