Neil Lennon reveals reasons behind rejecting Aberdeen and Hibs for Rapid Bucharest role

Neil Lennon
-Credit: (Image: SNS Group)

Neil Lennon has revealed that he was approached for several managerial roles in Scotland before opting to take on a new challenge in Romania.

He also gave insight into 'brief conversations' with Aberdeen and Hibs who were previously both searching for new managers after the respective exits of Barry Robson and Nick Montgomery.

The ex-Easter Road and Celtic manager found himself without a club for 18 months after leaving Omonia Nicosia, until he took the reins at Rapid Bucharest last month, writes the Daily Record.

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During his time away from management, Lennon was frequently linked with a number of top-flight Scottish clubs, particularly Aberdeen and Hibs, where he acknowledged there was mutual interest.

However, none of these opportunities materialised, and instead, Lennon chose a lucrative offer to manage in Romania, which he describes as a 'far better' option than any of the serious proposals he received in Scotland.

Speaking to the BBC, he said: "I was really impressed by what he had to say. I've since been to Bucharest, looking at the stadium and the facilities. It's a club that's on the up. All of Romanian football is on the up at the moment. The national team are at the Euros.

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"The infrastructure is improving all the time, there are good coaches and good competition. On paper, you think 'no', but in practice when you go and look you think, 'this has huge potential'. I've done a lot in Scotland and this is an opportunity to broaden my horizons. I loved my time in Cyprus and I'm hoping I love it in Romania.

"I was offered jobs (in Scotland) last summer and I turned them down because they weren't right I felt I could work at a better level. This is a far better option.

"I had a brief conversation with Aberdeen in March or April, but that's all it was. With Hibs there was a lot of speculation, which is flattering. Again, a brief conversation but nothing materialised.

"It's a different club from the one I worked at. Different owners. Would I have gone back? I don't know. I loved my time there but it's never the same the second time. I learned that at Celtic."

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However, Lennon, who was unveiled as Rapid Bucharest's manager last month, was left in shock when the Romanian FA insisted on checking his coaching certificates before permitting him to manage in the country. The former Celtic boss, nonetheless, managed to verify that he holds UEFA Pro Licence badges.

Lucian Burchel, head of the Romanian League stated: "The necessary steps were taken and Neil Lennon has been approved now to coach in the league with Rapid Bucharest.

"If he hadn't completed the licence, he wouldn't have been able to coach here. But his qualifications are now verified and he can coach. It's the same with every potential manager in this country."