Neil Lennon To Hibs: Desperate Or Hungry? Does It Even Matter?


So it looks like Neil Lennon is about to become the new Hibernian manager. Reports suggest that he might put pen to paper on a deal later on today.

Not to be to disrespectful to Hibs but it shows just how far Lennon’s stock has fallen in the last two years.

In the summer of 2014, Neil Lennon left Celtic after securing a third top-flight title in a row. He also managed to watch on as his side won two Scottish Cups and enjoyed famous European nights, which included a triumph over FC Barcelona at Celtic Park.

In his four years in charge of Celtic he managed to turn things around. The club needed a spark to get things going again and Lennon provided it.

Questions soon arose regarding the coach and whether he could be a success at any other club. He was often not given the credit he deserved as it was seen as an easy job, once Rangers were demoted to the old Scottish Third Division. But when you look at Ronny Deila’s efforts at Parkhead, you begin to realise Lennon did slightly more than just coast it as Celtic boss.

When he departed in 2014, I believe he thought that the job offers would fly in. He was a young coach that had won titles and had even enjoyed success in the illustrious Champions League after all.

But the big jobs didn’t seem to come calling and Lennon had to rethink his plans.

The Northern Irishman then accepted the role of manager at Bolton Wanderers. It was surprising to say the least as everyone and their auntie knew that things weren’t right at Bolton and that the Trotters had big financial worries.

Taking any managers job on comes with a risk, but that Bolton one seemed riskier than most.

Again, in his initial season, he managed to turn the club’s fortunes around and managed to see them finish away from any relegation threat.

But now in the thick of it, Lennon must have known the extent of the problems he was dealing with at the Macron Stadium. He really should have taken note of the situation, walked away in the summer of 2015 and protected his own CV.

In fairness to Neil, he’s a fighter and decided he could do something with the side. He would state after a poor start to the season:

“I didn’t realise quite how tough it was going to be but I have got faith in my own ability and I believe we’ll turn things around.”

He was soon firefighting all sorts of other off-field problems that would distract him from his main managerial duties. The club were actively seeking out a new buyer, a transfer embargo was placed on them, wages weren’t being paid on time, Chairman Phil Gartside died and HMRC also issued a winding up order. Added to all that Lennon had his own personal troubles to deal with.

Thankfully the club survived as new owners came in and saved it from extinction. But Lennon wouldn’t last much longer and left the side in March of this year, with the Trotters staring relegation in the face.

So now we come to Hibs.

Lennon obviously wants to get back into management. He very publicly declared he wanted to return as Celtic’s manager.But he was overlooked with the Celtic board deciding on Brendan Rodgers instead. Supposedly it was Neil and not the Hibs hierarchy that did the initial running in regards to him becoming their new man.

So is he just desperate for any job or hungry to prove himself? 

Well it could be a bit of both really.

To go from the Scottish Premiership’s winning boss to the Scottish Championship in just two years is unheard of. He won’t have the same budgets or command the same wage at Easter Road that he was used to in Glasgow.

Again the job offers haven’t flooded in, moves to China seem to be the only real alternative to the Hibernian job. Even Scotland’s second tier gets more exposure in the UK than Chinese football (But for how long?).

But he’ll look at Hibs as an ideal club to start again and rebuild his CV. They are a club that will give managers time, as long as they can see progress being made. After completing a promising phase at Easter Road, the successful managers will often go on to bigger roles like Alex McLeish and Tony Mowbray.

They also have a good youth system, scouting team and a decent transfer budget in comparison to the rest of Scottish football bar the Old Firm sides. The club is on a high at the moment after winning their first Scottish cup in 114 years. Lennon should have the majority of that cup winning squad to pick from including great prospects in Dylan McGeouch, Fraser Fyvie, Jason Cummings and Scotland international John McGinn.

The main objective is obvious, Hibs need to be back in the top flight of Scottish football and that is an obtainable goal.

But Neil Lennon has to prove that he’s hungry to deliver that success and let no stone go unturned in getting things right in the capital.

Dundee United will probably be Hibs main title challengers and they have a boss in Ray McKinnon who knows the league well.  The same could be said for Falkirk, who finished above the Hibees in the Championship last term. St Mirren could also be a stronger force as it seems they may have now got used to the league. Plus we usually see a surprise package turn up and ruffle a few feathers in the Championship.

At the end of the day, it will be what happens next that will probably decide Lennon’s destiny as a football manager. Can he really afford another slip up?

Sometimes fortune favours the brave, so Neil Lennon will be hoping that his decision to step down a level will prove to be the right choice, whether he made that choice through desperation or self belief.


2 Responses to “Neil Lennon To Hibs: Desperate Or Hungry? Does It Even Matter?”

  1. “No disrespect to Hibs” then you go on to disrespect both Hibs and Lennon! He’s not moved to Alloa (no disrespect) fcol. It’s a great move for both the club AND Lennon. He, like many saw the potential of Hibs during the parade down Leith. He just needs a good start and the support will turn up at games again. He knows that and I bet he feels excited by the job, not grateful knowing where his next meal will come from!!!!?

    If he gets us promoted he will, if the opportunity arises, leave with the best wishes of the Hibs support. Meanwhile just where were Celtic on cup final day? No disrespect like!

  2. Ok I was mentioning that going from winning the Premiership to the Championship in two years was a step down and showed how much his stock had fallen. I stand by that and don’t think that is disrespecting Hibs.

    I mentioned the high that Hibs are on at the moment and that it could be a great job for NL if he is hungry enough to make it work.

    Oh I don’t care where Celtic were on Cup final day. Better asking someone who does care like a Celtic fan.

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