Derek McInnes reckons his Celtic counterpart Neil Lennon can have the same impact at Parkhead as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has had at Manchester United.
Solskjaer has revitalised United’s fortunes, guiding them to the last eight of the Champions League by overturning a 2-0 deficit against Paris Saint-Germain this week, while also steering them back into the Premier League’s top four without losing a game.
Lennon returned to the Celtic hotseat last week after Brendan Rodgers departed to Leicester and McInnes sees similarities between the two big-name caretaker managers, given they are steeped in the history of their respective clubs.
When asked if he expects Lennon to land the Celtic job on a permanent basis, McInnes said:
“I‘m pretty much sure that Celtic have given him the job until the end of the season with the hope that could be the outcome. We’ve seen it at Manchester United with Solskjaer.
“He’s somebody who is so saturated within the Manchester United way of working, it’s seen to be easy for him to go in and get that club going the right way again.
“The only difference is that Celtic weren’t in a bad place. The similarities are that Neil knows Celtic, the way Solskjaer knows Manchester United, and he knows how things operate in there and how important it is dealing with that size of club. I’m pretty sure that if Celtic finish the season the way they want to, then Neil would be in pole position for the job.
“I’m pleased for Lenny because I was gutted for him when he lost his job. But it’s worked out well for him and he’s got a real opportunity. I’m sure he’ll be under no illusions of how much of a chance he has got to go and get the job permanently again.”
McInnes admitted he was surprised at Lennon’s return but that owed more to the circumstances of his arrival, given Rodgers’ prompt exit to the Foxes.
He said: The more you thought it, the more Neil was linked with it, the more it made sense. I wasn’t totally surprised once I’d digested it all.
“Lenny has spoken about how it’s been a privilege for him and how fortunate he is to be back in the position as Celtic manager.
“But, equally, Celtic have the same fortune that Neil was available. If Neil had still been the Hibs manager, it might have been more difficult to go and do. The fact that Neil was out of work, it’s good to see that he’s had the opportunity to go back to a club that he served so well.”
The change of manager does not alter the scale of the task ahead of the Dons at Parkhead tomorrow with Greg Stewart, Gary Mackay-Steven and Niall McGinn all nursing knocks going into the game.
McInnes said: “It’s never easy. It’s still the same groups of players. You look at both games we’ve got coming up against Celtic and Rangers, they’ve invested heavily, they’ve got strong squads, they can deal with injuries. I know Celtic have injuries going into this game, but nobody really focusses on that because of the size of squad. They go and win at Tynecastle and Easter Road when they’ve not got their full squad available. They’ve still got a lot of good players.”