Former Hibs and Celtic boss aims to be title winner again as he accepts surprise challenge

He previously managed HibsHe previously managed Hibs
He previously managed Hibs | SNS
Neil Lennon is ready to embark on a new chapter in his career.

Neil Lennon is preparing for his first SuperLiga game in charge of his new club Rapid Bucharest.

The Romanian side will take on UTA Arad to kick off their season and the former Hibs and Celtic manager is ready to compete. Lennon has made the move to Romania after 18 months away from a managerial role. The 53-year-old started his coaching career at Celtic before moving across the border for his first role in England with Bolton Wanderers. After returning to Scotland for spells with Hibs and a return to Celtic, Lennon spent a brief stint in Cyprus with Omonia before being sacked in October 2022.

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After a stretch out of work, the Northern Irish boss moved to Bucharest to sign for Rapid on a two-year deal. Ahead of his debut season in the SuperLiga, Lennon has said he wants to be up at the top of the table among those challenging for the title.

“It's hard to predict, but there will be around five-six teams that will be in the fight for the title. And I want Rapid to be among them. Certainly the FCSB champion is an opponent, as are Craiova, Farul and CFR Cluj,” Lennon told sport.ro.

“We have a young team, we must be consistent throughout the championship. We have a lot of young players that I am very proud of and in whom I have a lot of confidence.

“It's the first game of the season, away. UTA has made quite a few changes in the squad this summer, but we are most interested in how we will present ourselves. I had a training period that I am delighted with, but at the same time I know that the top of the form is reached only after 3-4 stages. So I expect a difficult match.”

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Lennon also heaped praise on team captain Cristian Săpunaru, who is 40 years of age and played in all but one SuperLiga match last season.

He said: “Cristi Săpunaru is an exceptional athlete, to be in such good physical condition at 40 years old and still be motivated is extraordinary. He is an important player of ours and we will use him whenever the team needs him.”

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