John Kennedy rebuffed the call to head to Leicester alongside Brendan Rodgers, Chris Davies and Kolo Toure with the 35-year-old insisting that the emotional pull of Celtic was too difficult to sever.

“There wasn’t a moment when I might have gone too,” admitted Kennedy.

Instead, the young coach found himself on the cusp of being thrown into the role with Peter Lawell pulling up at Lennoxtown on Monday afternoon as Rodgers was heading to Leicester to formalise his move to the Premier League side.

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As it transpired, Neil Lennon was in place in time for the game against Hearts as Celtic moved swiftly but it was Kennedy who was asked to hold fort in the immediate and shocking aftermath of Rodgers' exit.

“I’d a great relationship with Brendan,” said Kennedy. “The first I spoke with him about this was Monday morning. He said he was probably going to speak with Leicester and to get ready to take the team.

“Peter arrived at the training ground in the afternoon, discussed the possible plans and told me that I was wanted here, to prepare the team and if there was going to be an appointment that I’d be assistant manager.

“For me, I’ve had a really close attachment with this club. A lot of people say it and that kind of stuff.

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“But I’ve spent a large chunk of my life here in terms of being a player and working behind the scenes. There’s certainly an emotional attachment there. To leave would be very difficult for me. This is another great opportunity for me to move up and progress and hopefully finish the job that’s been started.”

Kennedy was in the dugout on Wednesday night as Neil Lennon made his return to Celtic. The Irishman’s second stint in the managerial seat got off to a scripted start with a last minute winner at Tynecastle.

"It's a short period now until the end of the season but I know what he's like and he's a born winner,” said Kennedy who was a player alongside Lennon under Martin O’Neill. He appreciates that Lennon was a safe bet in the short term option and has acknowledged that his stay could well last longer that the summer.

"He wants to come in and achieve things, knowing the culture here.

"He knows the environment so nothing is going to shock him, nothing is going to surprise him.

"As soon as he stepped into the role he knew what he was walking into.

"He will quickly assess the players but having been around the games, and having been with Hibs, he'll already have a good grasp on who they are and what they are about. He'll now just get to know them a bit more intimately and build relationships.

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"I'm sure he'll be a huge success and then in the summer we'll see where the thing goes.

"But he would certainly be one, longer term, who would be a strong candidate."

Kennedy, admitted, however that there was a shock for the players this week as news broke that Rodgers was on his way out the back door of the club to Leicester.

“It has been a bit of a whirlwind but it’s been good that’s there’s a bit of closure as well because sometimes when these things happen it drags on for a bit but the club have been well prepared and got things sorted very quickly so we move on,” he said.

“When the players came in (to the news) it was a case of ‘what’s going on?’ so I was honest with them and told them the situation and what was possibly going to happen in the next 24 hours.

“Much as the success we’ve had and Brendan going might turn a few heads and create uncertainty, players still have to go and deliver success. A manager leads it and will be the face of it but players are the most important people at any club as they are the ones who step on the pitch and have to deliver for the manager.

“I’ve seen numerous good managers that players don’t perform for and they are out of a job. Brendan has come in, a fantastic manager with a fantastic group of players, and it clicked so we were successful.

“Players are a huge part of that. The support behind them with the backroom staff is very stable as well.

“We’re in a good place. Often when these things happen, it can be a moment of crisis or turmoil and players aren’t confident and things are all over the place.

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“But behind the scenes things are very stable. Neil will add to that, put his stamp on it and we kick on from there.”

There remains a palpable anger from the support over the timing of Rodgers’ exit but the focus will move sharply given the games that lie in wait for Celtic now.

Lennon faces a return to Easter Road on Saturday evening in a Scottish Cup quarter-final tie before games against Aberdeen and Rangers at the end of the month. Such games will shape how Celtic’s season plays out.

"They are all in a good place,” stressed Kennedy.

"The response in training on Tuesday was very, very positive. There was almost a cause for them because they want to prove 'okay, the manager has left but we're as strong as ever.' "