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Lennon poised to return as Celtic boss as Rodgers talks with Leicester

Neil Lennon is poised to return as Celtic manager after Brendan Rodgers opened talks with Leicester on Tuesday.

The Parkhead club “very reluctantly” granted their 46-year-old manager permission to hold discussions with the Premier League outfit, who are looking for a successor to Claude Puel following his dismissal on Sunday.

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell and Lennon’s agent Martin Reilly were spotted entering the club’s Lennoxtown training complex later in the day as the Ladbrokes Premiership champions look to implement a contingency plan ahead of their clash with Hearts on Wednesday.

A Celtic statement read: “Celtic Football Club today confirmed that it has been approached by Leicester City FC to speak to Brendan Rodgers with regards to their current managerial vacancy.

“Brendan has indicated to the club that this is an opportunity he wishes to investigate further and therefore, very reluctantly, the club has granted him permission to speak to Leicester City.”

It has been reported that former Hoops captain Lennon is set to become interim manager until the end of the season.

Lennon won three league titles and two Scottish Cups in just over four years as Celtic manager after taking over from Tony Mowbray, initially on a temporary basis, in March 2010.

Neil Lennon

Neil Lennon won three league titles and two Scottish Cups as Celtic manager (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Rodgers’ imminent departure has caused some shock among the Celtic fans. The former Liverpool boss has been in charge at Parkhead since 2016 and led Celtic to an unprecedented domestic double-treble with the Hoops on course for a third.

Celtic are eight points clear of Rangers with the Betfred Cup already in the trophy room and with a William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-final against Hibernian, whom Lennon left in January, to come at Easter Road on Saturday.

However, it is understood the former Swansea boss has always wanted to return to the Premier League at some stage.

He now has the chance to take over the club which pulled off a stunning title triumph in 2016.

Leicester sacked manager Claude Puel on Sunday and are holding talks with Brendan Rodgers.

Leicester sacked manager Claude Puel (pictured) on Sunday and are holding talks with Brendan Rodgers (John Walton/PA)

Puel was sacked the day after Saturday’s 4-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace.

The loss saw Leicester slip to 12th in the table and left them still looking for their first win of 2019 following a miserable run which also saw them knocked out of the FA Cup at League Two Newport.

If appointed, Rodgers will become Leicester’s third permanent manager since they sacked title-winning boss Claudio Ranieri in February 2017.

Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton criticised Rodgers over the timing of his expected departure.

Sutton told BT Sport’s Twitter account: “The timing of it stinks. He’s going to a club who are playing for absolutely nothing – they are not going to get relegated, they are not going to get into Europe – and I am really disappointed.

“I think there are a lot of Celtic fans out there as well who will feel let down.

“This is the job which Brendan said was his dream job. So why is he going now to a club who have nothing to play for?”