FORMER Celtic boss Neil Lennon has been linked with a shock return to football with Israeli club Hapoel Tel Aviv.

The Northern Irishman has been out of work since being sacked by Cypriot outfit Omonia Nicosia in October.

However, the struggling Tel Aviv club have Lennon in their sites to replace outgoing gaffer Haim Silvas. The team have four games remaining and are in the relegation zone after the top-flight split.

Hapoel have Nick Hammond, former Celtic Head of Operations, as sports director and he has pushed the name of the Hoops legend, according to a report in the Glasgow Times.

ISRAELI DOUBLE-ACT…Nir Bitton and Hatem Abd Elhamed celebrate Celtic’s 1-0 League Cup Final success over Steven Gerrard’s Ibrox club in December 2019.

Lennon, who has also managed Hibs and Bolton, knows the Israeli soccer scene well and has bought players such as Nir Bitton, Beram Kayal and Efe Ambrose from the country in the past.

One of his last purchases before he departed Parkhead in February 2021 was right-back Hatem Abd Elhamed who cost £2million from Hapoel Be’er Sheva.

Lennon also revealed he would like to manage there in an interview when he admitted: “I would definitely consider coaching an Israeli team. Israeli clubs have had success in Europe and it’s somewhere that appeals to me.”

Hapoel haven’t won a league title for 13 years and could turn to the experienced 51-year-old coach as the man to turn things around.

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