Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes is disappointed Neil Lennon will be absent from the home dugout when the Dons visit Celtic Park tomorrow.
Lennon’s second stint as Celtic boss ended this week after the Hoops confirmed he had resigned from his position with his team 18 points adrift of Scottish Premiership leaders Rangers.
During his two spells in charge of the Hoops, Lennon guided the Glasgow club to five titles, four Scottish Cups and a League Cup, but drew the ire of the Celtic support after their hopes of a 10th successive title gradually disappeared over the course of a poor campaign.
McInnes is unsure what to expect from Celtic this weekend with John Kennedy placed in interim charge, but believes history will look favourably on Lennon’s time at Parkhead.
He said: “Having seen some of the comments from the Celtic players, there’s that feeling of regret as you’d expect. You just never know really how these things play out.
“I’m disappointed Neil won’t be in the opposition dugout. I’ve come up against him many times and like to feel as though I can class him as a friend.
“He’s someone who’s had a very successful managerial career. That shouldn’t be forgotten in this.
“Sometimes he can be seen as a bit of a punchbag and managers can be.
“But Neil, in particular this season, has had to contend with a lot and will be devastated that he’s not been able to get that consistency that would have allowed them to challenge Rangers at the top of the league.
“What can’t be forgotten, and what won’t be forgotten, is that he’s been a very successful Celtic manager and, at this moment in time, maybe not everyone can see it. Time will be kind to Neil.”
McInnes has also come under scrutiny this season with Saturday’s 1-0 win against Kilmarnock ending a club-record run of six games without a goal and easing some of that pressure.
But the Dons boss, who will mark eight years in charge of the Dons next month, admits the criticism managers receive comes with the territory.
He said: “We all get it. When you sign up to be a manager you know you are going to get stick.
“Having spoken to managers from a different era, what managers in this era have to contend with is far greater than they did.
“There are all those outside pressures that you need to ignore and try to get on with the job.
“But it can be difficult.
“Ultimately Neil as a manager, player, captain and coach at Celtic knew the demands.
“We as managers know the importance of trying to win games and trying to keep it manageable and real.
“You have to do is expect tough times as a manager.
“You have to be ready to try to deal with it.
“Sometimes you have the benefit of experience through tough periods.
“There might be legitimate reasons for why your team is not performing at its best, all managers will find that.
“It is important you lean on your experience, your way of working.
“If you can be pretty balanced when winning and work the same way when losing then I think that helps.
“It is important that you have a degree of calmness.
“Obviously every manager needs that level of support from the people you are working with.
“Going through tough periods, it doesn’t matter how good a manager you are you are always going to face that at some point in your career.”