NEIL LENNON is looking forward to returning to the dug-out after an absence of 18 months.

The 52-year-old former Celtic boss is back in football after signing a two-year deal with Romanian top-flight outfit Rapid Bucharest.

And the Irishman is welcoming the chance to put together a successful team to perform in front of the passionate fans he reckons remind him of Hoops supporters.

Lennon said: “I am very happy to be here, I know that Rapid is a very important name in the history of Romanian football. It’s an opportunity for me.

CROWNING GLORY…Neil Lennon with the Premiership silverware in 2020.

“I hope to create a strong connection between myself and the fans, but that comes with getting positive results and performing. It is my responsibility. I know they are very passionate supporters who love the club.

“They are similar to Celtic fans. I want us to perform, that’s my main goal.
“I hope to meet the supporters soon and I will do everything possible to perform with Rapid.”
The appointment of Lennon brings to an end speculation about his future after he was sacked by Cypriot outfit Omonia Nicosia in October 2022 after only eight months in the job.
At one stage during the season he was linked with Sunderland after another former Celtic gaffer, Tony Mowbray, had been sacked.
Ironically, Lennon had taken over from the one-time Hoops centre-back at Parkhead following his dismissal after only nine months following his appointment in the wake of Gordon Strachan’s departure in the summer of 2009.
I SAY, I SAY, I SAY…Neil Lennon in his recent role as a media pundit as he chats to new signing Nicolas Kuhn at half-time in Celtic’s 5-0 Scottish Cup win over Buckie Thistle on January 21.
The club’s former club captain accepted the role in a caretaker basis before agreeing a permanent contract at the end of the campaign.
Lennon quit Parkhead in the summer of 2014 to make way for Ronny Deila, but he was back as team chief in an interim capacity in February 2019 following Brendan Rodgers’ exit to Leicester City.
He left  after a 1-0 loss to Ross County in Dingwall on February 23 2021 during the club’s first trophyless season in 11 years.

As well as Sunderland, Lennon has been linked with the vacant post at the Republic of Ireland, Aberdeen and former club Hibs.

Lennon, speaking to the club website, revealed he had been influenced  by the Romanian side’s hierarchy and added: “I had extensive discussions with them.

“Then we met again a few weeks ago and I was very impressed with the project they presented to me.

“In the end it was a simple decision for me.”

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