“I think it was too soon, the season has not even started,” he said of city rivals Hearts’ decision to cut the fledgling head coach loose after less than eight months in the job.
The 31-year-old was axed thanks to a paltry return of just eight wins in 30 competitive matches. The final straw was the embarrassing exit from the League Cup. It leaves the club seeking a replacement before the league season has even begun. “But this is the modern game and we all know it is based on results,” said Lennon.
“For me, he was very, very young to be given that job. At 31, his pedigree was good and he had worked at Valencia and Newcastle but there is a huge difference from being the coach or assistant to becoming the manager. It was difficult but he’ll come again, I’m sure of it. He just has to gain more experience and pick the right moment if he wants back into management in the future. I felt it came too soon for him.”
Lennon was a young manager when he was elevated to the top job at Celtic but he said circumstances were different. “I was coach under Gordon [Strachan] and then development coach under Tony [Mowbray], I was part of the furniture. I had been there since 2000. I got the job in 2010, so I knew the players and club inside out. But Ian has come from outside to in. The structure may have been good, but it is still a big ask for a 31-year-old to go into a dressing room full of international players and gets his points across as vociferously as he can.”