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Ally McCoist not surprised by Neil Lennon's Celtic exit

McCoist hopes Neil Lennon can now "get some sanity back in his life".

Ally McCoist was not surprised that Neil Lennon resigned as Celtic manager after seeing the Parkhead club endure "one disaster after another".

The Northern Irishman, who returned to Celtic for a second stint in charge after Brendan Rodgers left to take over at Leicester in February 2019, had been under pressure for most of the season as the 'nine in a row' Scottish Premiership champions were knocked out of Europe and the Betfred Cup while slipping well adrift of Rangers in the league.

Celtic are 18 points behind their Old Firm rivals and a 1-0 defeat to Ross County in Dingwall on Sunday night left Steven Gerrard's men just seven points away from their first title in a decade.

McCoist, who played for Rangers between 1983 and 1998 before a spell as manager between 2011 and 2014, and is now a presenter and pundit, told talkSPORT: "The first thing I say is, hopefully he can get some sanity back in his life and go and enjoy himself and relax with his family for a period.

"That's the one thing, looking at Neil, that he needs and wants – so that's the most important thing.

"But in terms of the decision itself, I'm not overly surprised at all. I think the way the season has gone for Celtic this year has effectively been one disaster after another, and there are a lot of people responsible for that.

"Neil, being the manager, is obviously one of them but the people above him as well, and indeed the players have to shoulder a lot of the responsibility."

Rangers v Celtic – Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership – Ibrox
Steven Gerrard, left, was not surprised by Neil Lennon's Celtic exit but took no 'personal satisfaction' from it (Ian Rutherford/PA)

Gerrard was no more caught off guard about Lennon's departure than McCoist.

Speaking ahead of the Ibrox side's Europa League clash with Royal Antwerp, he said: "I can't say I'm surprised because of obviously what's been going on over there.

"But I obviously take no personal satisfaction from seeing that news (happen) to Neil or any other fellow manager that happens to. So I wish him well for the future."

Former Celtic striker John Hartson believes former team-mate Lennon's resignation is the "best outcome" for the club.

The 45-year-old, who played for the Hoops between 2001 and 2006, posted on Twitter: "Neil Lennon can be proud of his achievements both as a player, coach and manager of Celtic.

"I'm not surprised he has resigned but feel it's the best outcome for Celtic.

"The club now need to move quickly and get a new manager and his staff in for the challenges ahead."

Celtic v Ross County – Scottish Premiership – Celtic Park
Ross County boss John Hughes, left, saluted Lennon's achievements with Celtic (Jeff Holmes/PA)

Ross County manager John Hughes expressed his sympathy for the former Celtic captain.

He said: "My heart goes out to Lenny.

"I pay tributes to his accomplishments and success he has had at Celtic, as a player and a manager.

"Someone showed me his (Lennon's) statement and he is 100 per cent right, he is Celtic through and through and he will be hurting.

"As a fellow manager, I can only sympathise with him and I wish him all the best."

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Celtic manager Neil Lennon pictured on January 2, 2021
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