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Lennon believes Celtic fans will regret Rodgers abuse

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Glasgow (AFP)

Neil Lennon says Celtic fans will come to regret targeting Brendan Rodgers with abuse over his Parkhead exit, urging them to cherish the success he brought to the club.

Rodgers' decision this week to quit the Scottish champions midway through the season to join Leicester was met with bitterness and dismay from the Hoops faithful.

The Northern Irishman guided Celtic to seven straight domestic trophies and looked set for a historic third straight treble before his surprise defection.

But furious supporters held up a banner during Wednesday's win over Hearts at Tynecastle claiming their former manager had "traded immortality for mediocrity".

Club chiefs were forced to issue a statement condemning the "disgusting and pathetic behaviour" of a group of fans filmed singing an offensive chant about Rodgers in an Edinburgh pub.

But new interim boss Lennon, who got his second stint as Celtic manager off to a winning start after Odsonne Edouard's stoppage-time winner in midweek, insists the part played by Rodgers in the club's success should be cherished.

"I understand the frustrations at times and things can be said in the heat of the moment that they regret later on but in time I think they'll look back on Brendan's period as remarkable really," he said.

Asked if he would like to see Rodgers welcomed back by the club in years to come, he replied: "I'm sure Brendan would like that as well."

Rodgers' exit was so swift that he did not even have time to say goodbye to his squad but Lennon knows how highly his predecessor valued the players.

"It's been emotional for them, really emotional. It's been difficult for them," said Lennon. "Brendan's here one day and then he's gone the next. It's a huge void because he's a mentor to them, he's a voice for them.

"Almost, for some of the younger ones, a father figure and when you lose that there is a loss, there's no question of that."

Lennon is preparing to visit Easter Road for the first time since his own sudden departure from Hibernian.

The Northern Irishman parted company with the capital club just four weeks ago but he will be back on Saturday as he looks to guide Celtic into the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup.

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