Mowbray sacking has no impact on Norwich City

Chris LakeyCeltic eased the fears of Norwich City fans yesterday - for now at least - when they named Neil Lennon as their manager until the end of the season.The struggling Scottish giants parted company with manager Tony Mowbray yesterday, immediately fuelling speculation that Canaries boss Paul Lambert would be returning to his old club.Chris Lakey

Celtic eased the fears of Norwich City fans yesterday - for now at least - when they named Neil Lennon as their manager until the end of the season.

The struggling Scottish giants parted company with manager Tony Mowbray yesterday, immediately fuelling speculation that Canaries boss Paul Lambert would be returning to his old club.

Lambert was installed as second favourite to take over - behind Lennon.

And while the decision to give Lennon the job on a match-by-match basis will ease immediate fears, it still raises the spectre of the summer, when the Glasgow giants could be on the look-out for a permanent manager all over again.

For now, Norwich fans will be happy to see Lambert lead the team out for the biggest game of the season at home to Leeds tomorrow - a match which could go a long way towards deciding this season's automatic promotion position.

While the timing of Celtic's decision to sack Mowbray - as well as assistant Mark Venus and coach and former Norwich boss Peter Grant - was less than perfect from a City fans' perspective, the decision to appoint Lennon at least means Lambert can finish the job he started last August.

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Lambert, 40, won four SPL titles, two Scottish Cups and two CIS Insurance Cups with Celtic and was captain of the side which was beaten by Seville in the 2003 Uefa Cup final. He began his management career north of the border, with Livingston, and had spells at Wycombe and Colchester before moving to Carrow Road last August.

Since then he has taken City to the brink of promotion back to the Championship at the first attempt, having opened up an eight-point gap over Leeds.

While many observers expect him to one day follow in the footsteps of Martin O'Neill, the man he readily admits is his mentor, Lambert has been at pains to stress that he is happy at Carrow Road.

Less than a fortnight ago he appeared at an open fans' forum and assured those present that he was going nowhere, and earlier this month, in an interview with the Daily Record, said a return to Celtic did not appeal.

'I had eight terrific years at Celtic but there comes a time when you have to cut your ties,' said Lambert, who was also linked to the Burnley job in January after Owen Coyle left Turf Moor.

'I still look for Celtic's result and Seville will always remain the biggest disappointment in my football career. But the idea of coming back doesn't appeal to me.

'I mean no disrespect to Scottish football, but England is just a bigger place. I'm proud of my Scottish heritage but a move back home is not for me.

'The idea of playing the same club anything from four to six times a season doesn't appeal to me.'

It was an idea that appealed to Mowbray last June when he left West Brom to take over at Parkhead, but Celtic struggled in Europe and were always second-best to bitter rivals Rangers. But the straw that broke the camel's back was Wednesday's 4-0 drubbing at St Mirren - which left Celtic 10 points behind Rangers, who have two games in hand.