Neil Lennon seeks Celtic return as Ronny Deila set for exit

Neil Lennon has signalled his interest in returning to Celtic after the club confirmed current boss Ronny Deila will be leaving at the end of the season.
Neil Lennon seeks Celtic return as Ronny Deila set for exit

Increasing speculation about the Norwegian’s future following the penalty shootout defeat to old rivals Rangers in Sunday’s William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden Park ended with a statement released by the Parkhead club which revealed Deila’s imminent departure.

Lennon won three Premiership titles and two Scottish Cups and took Celtic into the Champions League during the four years he spent as Hoops manager before he left in 2014 to be replaced by Deila.

Speaking at The John Hartson Foundation charity golf day, the former Celtic midfielder, just out of an unsuccessful 17-month stint as Bolton boss, was asked if he would be interested in going back to Celtic Park.

“Absolutely,” he said.” I would definitely be interested.

“I am not promoting myself for it but you asked me an honest question and I am giving you an honest answer.

“I think they will have someone in mind and there will be a long list of candidates for the job now because it is still a very attractive job for anyone.

“I was associated with the club for 15 years, I missed it when I left as a player and there are aspects you miss even now at 44 years of age.

“And you see an event like Sunday, the passion and the crowd and what it means to so many people, there are not many clubs who can generate that sort of enticement.

“I don’t think there is a lot wrong. A couple of tweaks here and there and there needs to be an injection of pace into the team in certain areas.”

Deila said in the statement that it was “vital that the club comes first and foremost and instead of me being the focus, hopefully now the team and the club can be the focus as we enter the final important period of the season”.

The Parkhead side’s hierarchy was understood to be concerned by the lack of progress during Deila’s two-year reign, with the former Stromsgodset boss also reportedly left weary by the constant speculation over his future.

Deila, who was on a one-year rolling contract, acknowledged he had encountered some “disappointments” during his tenure, but said he had always given his all.

“There have been some disappointments and times when we have not achieved what we had hoped for and I’m realistic and honest enough to admit that, but I know that the players, myself and my backroom team have always given everything we had to bring success to our supporters.

“It was an absolute privilege to be named manager of Celtic and I have enjoyed my time here immensely.”

Deila led the Glasgow giants to a league and cup double last term and is aiming to deliver the club’s fifth straight Scottish Premiership title.

“My total focus now is on retaining our Premiership title and making it five in a row for our great club and proving we are the best in the country,” he said.

While Lennon has declared his interest in succeeding Deila, former Manchester United manager David Moyes has been installed as the bookmakers’ favourite to be named the next boss.

  • Hibernian fired out a cup final warning to Rangers as they boosted their hopes of catching Falkirk with a 3-2 Easter Road win over the Ladbrokes Championship winners last night.

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