Neil Lennon would love to emulate Arsene Wenger’s long stay at Arsenal

Neil Lennon has revealed his ambition to remain at Celtic for the rest of his managerial career after his return to the club on a permanent basis was confirmed.

Neil Lennon is confirmed as the new permanent manager of Celtic. Picture: Bill Murray/SNS
Neil Lennon is confirmed as the new permanent manager of Celtic. Picture: Bill Murray/SNS

Six days after being offered the job immediately after his stint as interim boss ended with the Scottish Cup final victory over Hearts at Hampden, Lennon agreed a 12-month rolling contract with the Scottish champions.

The 47-year-old called time on his first spell as manager in 2014, having won five trophies in four seasons, as he cited his need for a new challenge.

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But Lennon, who feels he has become a better manager for his experiences at Bolton and Hibernian since leaving Celtic, would now welcome the prospect of emulating the longevity of figures such as Arsene Wenger who was manager of Arsenal for 22 years.

“I’d love to do that now, I would,” said Lennon. “I’d love to now. If that could be feasible, then ‘yes’ – no question.

“You just never know. It is very rare in the modern game now. The modern coach maybe has five or six years maximum these days. Everyone is looking for something else or that bit of freshness. But if things are going well, you just never know.

“I am not saying I am going to be here for the next 20 years. But if I am, I would be delighted. I wouldn’t really say I felt it was my destiny to come back. It’s hard work but I believed I would come back in some capacity one day.

“It’s five years in the making and it’s very personal to me to get the chance to do it again. I left on really good terms the last time, with no guarantees. I went through a difficult time professionally but it has come full circle and I have another chance. You get a huge kick out of that for digging in. This job doesn’t get given to you – these are elite people in their field who are on the Celtic board. When they choose you, you must be doing something good.”

Lennon will retain John Kennedy as assistant manager and Damien Duff as first team coach.

“We might add one more to the backroom staff,” he said. “I’m delighted with the backroom team we have here right now so we may add one, we may not.”