Neil Lennon says he is ‘a better manager than ever’ as he weighs up next move

Neil Lennon

Neil Lennon says he will take some time out of football after leaving Hibernian, but insists he is a better manager now than he has ever been.

The 47-year-old former Celtic and Bolton Wanderers boss left Easter Road by mutual consent at the end of January, just days after he was suspended by Hibs following an exchange with club employees.

Lennon led the Edinburgh club to the Scottish Championship title in his first season in charge, before guiding them to fourth place and a Europa League spot in their first campaign back in the top flight.

“Being a manager is intense, extremely demanding,” he told the Scottish Sun.

“I’m very much the type who puts his heart and soul into the job. It’s who I am, it’s what’s made me successful.

“But I’m only 47. It’s definitely still an ambition of mine to manage again, to coach again.

“However, I don’t know when I’m going to get my next chance, and in the meantime I’ll do some media work and enjoy watching football in general as a neutral.

“I think I’m a better manager now than I’ve ever been. No question.”

Lennon’s managerial career began at Celtic, where he won three league titles and two Scottish Cups, as well as masterminding a path to the last 16 of the Champions League in 2012/13 when the Bhoys beat Barcelona in the group stage.

He joined Bolton in October 2014 and led them to 18th in the Championship before departing in March 2016 with the club rooted to the bottom of the table.

“Celtic was a phenomenal experience for me, the highs and lows, the triumphs at home and in Europe,” Lennon said.

“Bolton didn’t go anywhere near how I wanted it. It was difficult. But it still opened my eyes to other aspects of football and made me stronger.

“I’m approaching 10 years as a manager, I’m well over 400 games in the dugout now. I’ve got plenty of experience, I’ve learned a lot.

“I still feel I’ve got plenty to offer. At this moment I’ve got time out. But I will look for a new challenge eventually.

“It’s only been a couple of weeks. I know from past experience it’s usually about a month before you start getting the itch again.

“But at this time of the season I don’t envisage anything short-term that will get me back into management.

“I’ll go to as many games as I can, maybe visit a few clubs, try to refresh my thinking and knowledge, prepare myself for a return.

“England, abroad, maybe again in Scotland — I’ll always keep my options open. Football is a very difficult industry to get work at times.

“There’s so much competition now and there are constantly new managers coming in.

“You see Paul Scholes going in at Oldham and Sol Campbell at Macclesfield. Jobs are very precious.

“You can’t pick or choose where you want to go, sometimes it’s just being at the right place at the right time.”