When I wrote the other day that Neil Lennon is talking very much like a man who has accepted that his managerial career is over and that he’s got his heart set on punditry, I never imagined that in fact there is still a part of him who believes he will return to the dugout and might even do so again at Celtic Park. And I wonder; is this guy delusional?
Neil Lennon is never returning to Celtic Park in any coaching capacity.
I’ve written that before and I’ve been wrong. But I’m not wrong this time. All his excuses and justifications and failures to accept that he was in any way responsible for the stunning collapse in his last year as boss, are like a piece of evidence for the prosecution. How can a manager have learned lessons from his mistakes if he doesn’t believe he made any?
Besides, what does he believe the path back to Celtic would look like?
He would need to go off and achieve something momentous in the game, and prove that he had grown and developed into a top class boss.
This is a guy who was sacked by Bolton and Hibs between holding the Celtic job the first time and the second time, and yet somehow got the gig again anyway.
Three months ago he lost his job in the Cypriot League … this is not a guy progressing towards a top job but one whose career is hurtling backwards.
Yet he talks as if returning to Celtic one day would be like the Prodigal Son coming home at last, and even as if it were somehow in his gift to do this and that he would be welcomed if the chance ever arose again as a result of some outbreak of lunacy in our boardroom?
Neil Lennon’s return would not be welcomed, except by a tiny minority of our support which has forgotten the adage that the club is bigger than any one man and who are instead more representative of a personality cult.
I actually couldn’t believe those comments when I read them. It’s as if he just doesn’t comprehend what happened here and how completely those bridges are burned.
The first time he left I was sure we’d never see him back again, but that ended much more amicably than his second departure went and that he doesn’t understand that is bad enough.
But our fans have seen a glimpse of the club we could have, with progressive, forward thinking leadership and as a whole would not tolerate any state of affairs which sent us backwards and Lennon takes you backwards whether you’re Celtic or one of the three other clubs whose fans can attest to that fact.
“You should never say never,” he says as if he’d be courted, as if our club will at some point realise the error of its ways and beat the path back to his door.
But actually, Neil, you should. First accept it and then say it. Say never.