Martin O’Neill turned down chance to replace Neil Lennon at Celtic in autumn


Celtic were reportedly planning for life after Neil Lennon many months ago.

Pressure on Neil Lennon’s position had been mounting for a number of months before the Northern Irishman ultimately handed in his Celtic resignation this week.

Fans had been voicing their dissatisfaction with Lennon for some time and, apparently, Celtic reached out to two former managers in autumn with offers to replace the now-former Hoops manager.

The Athletic reports that Martin O’Neill and Gordon Strachan were approached by Celtic in autumn, when the Scottish champions were struggling to find a positive result while arch-rivals Rangers marched to the top of the table.

Both O’Neill and Strachan turned down the opportunity to return to Parkhead, which suggests that neither will be considered candidates now that Lennon has left his post.

Among the names linked with taking over from Lennon are Eddie Howe, Steve Clarke, Frank Lampard and Roberto Martinez.

For the time being, assistant John Kennedy will take interim charge of first-team duties while the club identifies a suitable replacement for Lennon.

On taking the caretaker role, Kennedy told Celtic TV: “It’s strange, it’s not one you’re ever really expecting. We knew the situation in terms of where we were sitting collectively, falling below where we wanted to be.

“With that comes pressure but you just have to deal with what comes your way and the club has asked me to step in and take charge of the team at the moment, which I’m more than happy to do.

“But it’s not about me. It’s about doing the right thing for the team and the club, that’s all I care about.

“I can park my own ambition aside and do the right thing day to day to help the club move forward.”

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