Great Britain

Neil Lennon to LEAVE Celtic in next 24hrs with Hoops 18 points behind Steven Gerrard’s Rangers

NEIL LENNON is set to leave Celtic in the next 24 hours.

SunSport understands the Hoops board have been in crisis talks since Sunday’s 1-0 loss to Ross County.

Lennon’s second spell as Celtic boss is expected to end imminently - with No2 John Kennedy put in interim charge.

Celtic’s horror season went from bad to worse in Dingwall - leaving them 18 points behind Steven Gerrard's Rangers.

Lennon is now set to depart the club he has served as player, coach and manager for the best part of two decades.

The 49-year-old has been under huge pressure for the last five months, with punters calling for him to be axed.

But Celtic powerbrokers Dermot Desmond and Peter Lawwell stayed loyal to the club legend.

They wanted to at least give him until the end of the season - despite the ten-in-a-row bid crumbling.

But a parting of the ways is now imminent - two years on from Lennon’s return as boss in February 2019.

The Northern Irishman replaced Brendan Rodgers after his sudden exit to Leicester City.

He previously bossed Celtic between 2010 and 2014 - guiding them to the last 16 of the Champions League.

Lennon teamed up with Kennedy as assistant on his return and steered Celtic over the line in the Premiership and Scottish Cup.

He then claimed another Treble after the Hoops won the delayed 2019/20 Scottish Cup in December.

But Celtic were already out of this season’s Betfred Cup after a humiliating 2-0 defeat to County in late November.

That led to shocking protests outside Parkhead - with raging punters having to be held back by cops.

The Hoops also trailed Rangers in the league after a poor start and had exited the Champions League qualifiers.

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Big-money signings Vasilis Barkas and Albian Ajeti failed to convince and star man Odsonne Edouard was unsettled.

Boli Bolingoli’s secret Spanish trip also led to Celtic having two games called off - forcing them to play catch-up to Gers.

Celtic’s Europa League results piled more pressure on Lennon - with successive 4-1 defeats to Sparta Prague.

The Hoops rallied in December but the Old Firm defeat to Rangers at Ibrox on January 2 was another blow to their title hopes.

Lennon took Celtic to Dubai for a training camp but that trip ended in controversy and a positive Covid test for Chris Jullien.

The manager, Kennedy and 13 players were forced into isolation - leaving No3 Gavin Strachan in charge.

An understrength Celtic drew with Hibs and Livingston - and were then held again by the Lions when Lennon returned.

Further losses to St Mirren and Ross County left the faltering title bid in tatters as Rangers romped ahead.

Lennon - who SunSport revealed had been backed to continue in early January - came under intense pressure.

He pointed to “mitigating factors” and revealed certain players had wanted away since the summer.

When Celtic finally issued their club review in February, there was no mention of his long-term future.

Desmond and the outgoing Lawwell were keen to stand by their man before an expected parting of the ways in the summer.

But the situation worsened on Sunday night after the struggling Staggies again stunned the Hoops.

Lennon is now set to be taken out of the firing line - with Kennedy expected to be installed as caretaker boss.

The former Hoops player has filled various backroom roles and is highly thought of by staff and players.

Gavin Strachan is set to assist Kennedy, with a third coach being appointed from within.

They are likely to be in charge for Saturday’s home clash against Aberdeen - as Celtic begin the hunt for a new gaffer.

Lawwell’s replacement Dominic McKay starts in the summer, with the Hoops also looking for a director of football in a new structure.

Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds

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