Neil Lennon: no reason why Hibs can't be like Aberdeen
New Hibs boss Neil Lennon admits his time at Bolton is a blot on his record but he is determined to get back to winning ways and believes the Easter Road club can emulate the success of Aberdeen.
Lennon led Celtic to three straight Scottish titles after taking up the Parkhead reins from Tony Mowbray in 2010 but the undoubted highlight was his side’s march to the last 16 of the Champions League in 2013, a run that included that unforgettable victory over Barcelona.
But things did not go so well at his next posting at Bolton.
He only discovered the club’s £170 million debts four weeks after moving to the Macron Stadium and eventually quit in March with the club bottom of the Sky Bet Championship.
The Northern Irishman admits he feared that troubled spell might have harmed his career prospects.
But now he hopes to repair the damage done by his Trotters tenure with Hibs and believes the Edinburgh club can emulate Aberdeen who have emerged as the second force in Scottish football in recent seasons.
“Of course [my record at Bolton worried me] because you get judged on results,” said Lennon, who has signed a two-year contract at Easter Road.
“But there were a lot of mitigating circumstances, such as the assurances I got that were broken very, very early. That made the job incredibly hard.
“You always gauge a job when you leave and after I departed they lost their next eight games in a row, so you could see that even with a new manager coming in there was no bounce because there was just no financial support to take the club where I wanted to go.
“It’s a great club but it’s found itself in a really difficult position. But whether you see it as a bad experience or a good one, it will stand me in good stead for this new job.
“Being out of work, you miss the buzz, so when this opportunity came up, I had to take it.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge, I’m very excited. This is one of the biggest clubs in Scotland, a big city club with huge potential.
“There is a good core of players here and the remit for me is to get them up and back into the Premiership.
“It’s not going to be easy, it’s a very competitive league. There are no guarantees we can do it but we’ll do everything we can to make that a success.”
But Lennon is already looking further into the future, with his aim to replicate Derek McInnes’ success story at Aberdeen in Leith.
“Why can’t that be us?” he asked. “Look at what Aberdeen did last season. Hearts came third while St Johnstone have finished fourth. Motherwell have ended up second a couple of times recently too.
“We are capable of being in that company. No question. My challenge now is to do just that.”