Celtic: Has Neil Lennon matched Brendan Rodgers' record?

Neil Lennon took over from Brendan Rodgers one year ago to the day
Neil Lennon took over from Brendan Rodgers one year ago to the day

Most Celtic fans across the globe will remember where they were when they heard the news of Brendan Rodgers leaving Celtic.

Leicester City had come calling and before they knew it, Celtic were without the star manager that had taken them to seven consecutive domestic trophies.

Fortunately for the Glasgow club, Neil Lennon was available and announced the very same day as caretaker manager.

So how is the current manager doing compared to his predecessor? Exactly a year on from taking over, BBC Scotland takes a look.

Goals, goals, goals

One of the biggest barriers Lennon had to overcome was proving to Celtic fans he was capable of coming up with tactics that could match the success and entertainment of his predecessor's.

Lennon decided to go for a more direct route, opting for fewer passes, longer balls up the park and a notable increase in the pace of play. And it seems to be working.

In 169 games under Rodgers, the Glasgow side scored 377 goals. That is an average of around 2.23 goals per game. However, as impressive as that was, Lennon has improved upon it.

In just 63 games in charge since his second stint at Celtic began, Lennon's side have scored 153 goals, which gives the Premiership leaders an average of 2.43 per game. That equates to around seven more goals per league campaign.

Plugging holes in defence

If that wasn't impressive enough, Lennon has also managed to improve upon Rodgers' defensive record in the first year of his return to Celtic.

Although the former Liverpool manager prided himself on devising tactics that controlled matches, his side still conceded on average 0.8 goals per game across all competitions, albeit including the Champions League.

Lennon, who brought in goalkeeper Fraser Forster as well as defenders Boli Bolingoli, Christopher Jullien, Greg Taylor, Hatem Abd Elhamed and Jeremie Frimpong in the summer, has revitalised Celtic's backline and brought that average down to 0.67 goals conceded per match.

Although Lennon hasn't had to navigate a Champions League group stage, there's no doubt that he has made notable improvements in attack and defence across the board since he returned to the club.

Lennon, Bolingoli and Jullien

Putting points on the board

Another concern that Lennon had to overcome was how his new-look Celtic side would fare against a resurgent Rangers side who had finished nine points behind them last season. Tactics, formations and goals are one thing, but they all pale in comparison to points on the table.

However, Lennon has also bettered Rodgers' stellar run. Over the course of 103 Scottish Premiership games, Rodgers won 78, drew 17 and lost just eight. That gave him a win percentage of 76% and saw Celtic pick up an average of 2.44 points per game.

In the first 39 Premiership games of his second tenure at the club, Lennon has an even more impressive win ratio of 82% and an average of 2.56 points per game.

In fact, it's worth noting that if Lennon's side were to win each of their remaining league games they would finish with as many points as Rodgers' heralded invincible side in the 2016-17 season.


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