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Troubled Omonia appoint former Celtic boss Neil Lennon

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Former Celtic boss Neil Lennon is the new head coach at Omonia Nicosia, as the club seeks a return to success after their poor performance this season leaves them in the bottom half of the table.

The Northern Irishman – who has also bossed Bolton and Hibs – signed a deal with Omonia until June 2024.

His first match in charge will be at home to Doxa on Saturday.

He replaces recently axed gaffer Henning Berg, who lifted the league title last season while leading the club to the first spot during the 2020-21 season, which was called off due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Henning Berg, a former Manchester United player and Norwegian international, leaves behind Omonia’s legacy as champions following an 11-year dry spell.

Besides winning the league, Berg also led Omonia to the Group stages of the Europa League and the Conference League tournaments in 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 seasons, respectively.

The greens’ former coach has also been accredited with developing home-grown talents such Loizos Loizou (18), Charalampos Charalambous (17) and Andreas Asimenos (17).

Lennon and Berg are no strangers as they have clashed in the Scottish Premiership in the early 2000s, with Omonia’s new head coach sporting the Glasgow Celtic jersey, while Berg was at arch-rivals Glasgow Rangers.

In a statement welcoming Lennon to the club, Omonia said, “Mr Neil Lennon is 50 years old, originally from Northern Ireland and has a long successful career as a coach.

“He worked for six years for one of Scotland’s biggest teams, Celtic, which he coached in 335 games, winning five league titles, four cups and a league cup.

“In addition, in the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons, he managed to achieve Celtic’s entry into the Champions League groups, while the team also qualified for the last 16 phase of the tournament”.

Lennon had two stints in charge at Celtic, winning an overall ten trophies – but left after his ten-in-a-row bid failed.

Since February last year, he has been out of the game as he decided to take a break from coaching.

As a player, Neil Lennon made 305 appearances for Celtic, winning five league titles, four Scottish cups, two League cups, and in 2003 reached the UEFA Cup final.

He also played for Leicester City, Manchester City, and the Northern Ireland national team.

Omonia is currently sitting in seventh place in the Cypriot First Division, as they finished in the bottom half of the table ahead of the playoffs.

The club is out of the championship playoffs for the first time since the format was introduced in 2007.

It is still fighting for the Cyprus Cup, having qualified to the last eight against AEL Limassol.