It wasn’t always so good for Norwich City boss Paul Lambert

Paul Lambert would be many people's choice as Premier League manager-of-the-year after three seasons of unbroken success.

But the Norwich City boss has been reflecting on the days when his impressive managerial career looked to have stalled before it really got off the ground.

Lambert is now viewed as one of the brightest talents in the game after following successive promotions by leading the Canaries to the brink of Premier League safety.

City's survival will be secured if Bolton lose at Aston Villa tonight – but Lambert admits his first foray into management at Livingston proved a chastening experience.

Lambert left after just eight months in charge before heading south to re-launch himself in the Football League at Wycombe and Colchester.

'When I finished with Livingston I thought that was me finished with Scotland,' he said. 'But it was a great experience. I left because I thought the club might still be able to stay in the SPL, but they didn't.

'It never knocked my self-belief but I just felt it would never happen for me in Scotland. I just thought then that no-one in Scotland would hire me. I wasn't naive enough to think another team would ask me to join them after what had happened at Livingston.

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'I've since said I'll never come back to work in Scotland and I'm still of that opinion. Once you've worked in England it's just a brilliant place to be. I don't think Scotland can compete with it.

'You look at the level of clubs in League One and you see Charlton, Sheffield United, Sheffield Wednesday – all huge football clubs. The Championship is also an incredible league and tough to get out of. You then go a league above that and it's incredible.'

Lambert returned to his roots recently to attend a coaching seminar at Hampden Park. The City chief is delighted to see former Celtic team mate Neil Lennon guide his old club to a first SPL title.

The former midfield allies will engage in friendly rivalry when Lennon brings Celtic to Carrow Road for Adam Drury's testimonial game on May 22.

'How long has he been at Celtic, a couple of years? And now he has won the league,' said Lambert.

'If he can manage Celtic, he can manage anywhere, because managing Celtic must be an incredible stress level. It was an incredible stress level when you played and I think he has managed it the best way he could. The stuff that has gone on off the field, that's not football. What he has done, what he has achieved, the turnaround has been incredible.'

Lambert – speaking to the Scotsman newspaper – insisted Lennon's achievement has not been tarnished by the financial implosion and subsequent points deduction for Old Firm rivals Rangers.

'Forget the ten points, that doesn't matter,' he said. 'A club that size going the way it is then there must be something wrong.

'If Rangers go bust I don't know what would happen. I think you need the rivalry between the two of them.

'Everybody loves playing in Old Firm matches but it is a hard one to talk about because if they go bust you are never quite sure what happens.'

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