NEIL LENNON’S hopes of returning to football after a 10-month absence have been thwarted with Ipswich Town’s appointment of Kieran McKenna as their new manager.

The former Celtic boss, who departed Parkhead following his second stint in charge in February, had been linked with the Portman Road side’s job after the club sacked Paul Cook, as CQN reported earlier this month.

However, the League One outfit last night announced the arrival of Manchester United first-team coach McKenna on a three-year deal, according to Sky Sports News.

LOST BHOY…Neil Lennon cuts a forlorn figure as he suffers in the dug-out during last season’s collapse.

The 35-year-old Northern Irishman has worked in the coaching staff at Old Trafford under Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and remained in his position following the arrival of interim manager Ralf Rangnick.

Prior to his appointment to the top side’s set-up at United, McKenna was in charge of the club’s Under-18 team.

John McGreal was given the caretaker role with the club, currently twelfth in the league, and his last match was in the midweek loss to League Two Barrow in their FA Cup second-round replay.

Lennon’s former Parkhead team-mate Paul Lambert also had a spell in charge of the club in recent times.

The ex-Hoops captain had also been mentioned as a possible to replace the axed Jack Ross at Hibs for his second spell at the Easter Road side where he spent two and a half years before leaving in January 2019 before his remarkable return to Parkhead in the fall-out of Brendan Rodgers’ rapid exit for Leicester City.

INTERNATIONAL DOUBLE-ACT…Shaun Maloney and Roberto Martinez plot the way ahead for Belgium.

The Edinburgh post is odds-on to go to another one-time Parkhead colleague Shaun Maloney with the club’s US-based owner Ron Gordon returning to Scotland to get the appointment over the line.

The businessman is determined to name the current Belgium assistant manager as the long-term successor to Ross.

Former Hibs captain David Gray, who has overseen the 1-1 draw with St Mirren and the 1-0 win over Dundee, will lead out the team against Ange Postecoglou’s side at Hampden in Sunday’s Premier Sports League Cup Final.

Maloney is expected to take full control after the silverware showpiece at the national stadium.

Lennon’s search for a return to the game looks like continuing into the New Year.

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