Celtic’s Neil Lennon: I did not expect to be returning to Hibs so quickly

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Neil Lennon admits that he did not anticipate such a swift return to Easter Road, with the new interim Celtic manager due to face Hibs this Saturday in the Scottish Cup.

Lennon was announced on Tuesday evening as the successor to Brendan Rodgers until the end of the season, just a month after his exit as Hibs head coach.

Neil Lennon speaks to the media after being officially unveiled as caretaker Celtic manager. Pic: SNS

Neil Lennon speaks to the media after being officially unveiled as caretaker Celtic manager. Pic: SNS

The 47-year-old departed Hibs on January 30 by mutual consent following a suspension from his role at the club owing to a reported training-ground bust-up. Lennon was exonerated from any wrongdoing by Hibs in a statement, but his two-and-a-half year tenure came to an end.

Lennon’s first two matches are Wednesday’s Premiership clash with Hearts at Tynecastle, followed by another engagement in the Capital on Saturday against his former club at Easter Road in a Scottish Cup quarter-final.

“I didn’t expect to be going back to Easter Road so early,” admitted Lennon in a press conference to officially unveil him as Celtic caretaker manager.

“However, my only focus is on tonight [against Hearts].

“Tonight we’ve got a really tough game against Hearts. I know it’s an old cliche, but we’ll just take it game by game.

“I just want to adjust quickly.”

Lennon also revealed that he had not decided whether he would take his place in the dugout at Tynecastle, despite a statement from Celtic on Tuesday suggesting that he would take charge immediately. On his last visit to Hearts’ stadium, he was struck by a coin thrown from the main stand during a 0-0 draw between Hibs and the Jambos on Hallowe’en.