NEIL LENNON admits “it’s a bit of a mystery” that he is still without a club since departing Celtic NINE months ago.

The 50-year-old former Hoops boss, who headed for the Parkhead exit as the historic quest for a tenth successive title disintegrated in inexplicable fashion, now appears to be out in the cold.

The managerial merry-go-round has been in full spin with his former Glasgow rival Steven Gerrard quitting Ibrox for Aston Villa following the sacking of Dean Smith a week ago.

Ironically, it now looks as though the axed Midlands club’s gaffer will get the nod to take over at Norwich City from Daniel Farke who had been handed his P45 the previous day with the Carrow Road club anchored at the foot of the Premier League.

CAN’T BEAR TO LOOK…Neil Lennon can’t hide his disappointment as Celtic crash out of the Champions League to unseeded Ferencvaros at Parkhead in August.

Eddie Howe, a one-time target for the Hoops as Lennon’s long-term successor, has taken over at Newcastle following his lengthy spell on the sidelines after leaving Bournemouth last summer.

In the midst of hectic dug-out activity, the Northern Irishman, however, has been largely overlooked and hasn’t even had the courtesy of a reply to some job applications.

Lennon, who won 10 honours – including five championships – as Hoops manager, admitted: “It’s frustrating.

“Some people probably assume that I’m not looking for a return to management because of the way it ended at Celtic.

“But nothing could be further from the truth.

THE LAST HURRAH…Neil Lennon celebrates the spot-kick victory over Hearts that brought the delayed 2020 Scottish Cup to Parkhead to complete the phenomenal quadruple treble.

“I’m still relatively young, as hungry as ever and believe I would bring something to any club.

“And I’d like to think my track record compares favourably to most.”

The fall-out of a colossally disappointing campaign is following Lennon since the February evening – 48 hours after an unacceptable 1-0 defeat from relegation-threatened Ross County in Dingwall – he walked out of the ground in the east end of Glasgow with John Kennedy handed the responsibility in an interim basis to see the club over the line with 10 games still to play.

Greek-Australian Ange Postecoglou, of course, arrived in June to take charge as the club went through a massive rebuild.

Following the previous summer of so much promise, plus the £13million arrivals of Swiss striker Albian Ajeti (West Ham), Greek goalkeeper Vaslis Barkas (AEK Athens) and Scotland midfielder David Turnbull (Motherwell), the team flopped spectacularly on the domestic and European fronts and completed a wretched term without silverware for the first time in 11 years.

HEADING FOR THE EXIT…a dejected Neil Lennon trudges off the Dingwall pitch after the 1-0 loss to Ross County in February as title hopes collapse in mesmerising fashion.

Lennon explained: “Some players just got to the end of the road. The pandemic hit us badly, because once we returned to action, we were never the same again.

“I still look back with immense satisfaction at what I did achieve.

“But one or two people have short memories.”

Lennon, who has also managed Bolton and Hibs as well as two stints in Glasgow, now appears to be the forgotten man.

He said: “It is a bit of a mystery. I think I’ve done a decent job wherever I’ve been.”

However, the ex-Hoops captain takes encouragement from Howe’s recent appointment and St James’s Park and, speaking to the Sunday People, added: “For a long time, everyone talked about Eddie being relegated at Bournemouth and not the huge success he enjoyed previously.

“But Newcastle saw the bigger picture and Eddie’s back in the game now.

“I’d love to think that it will be similar for me.”

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