Steve Evans was managing Leeds United when Neil Lennon's Bolton rocked up at Elland Road.

Two more contrasting managers you would not have found in England's Championship at the time. Evans's players strutting their stuff in front of 30,000 fans every week, Lennon's struggling to rub two pennies together throughout a period of financial turmoil where wages were often not paid in time, if at all.

A victory for the hosts in March 2016, prompted the usual post-match beer in the manager's room between old pals, where Lennon revealed his admiration for the job Evans was doing and the riches he had at his disposal. It wasn't long, however, until the script was flipped and Evans was hailing Lenny and his Celtic connection.

The Scot, now manager at Gillingham, had watched Lennon's first term as Hoops boss between 2010-14 with great interest. Having grown up a Celtic supporter, Evans always looked out for their results. And, when Brendan Rodgers infamously departed Parkhead in 2019, the former Rotherham boss was like many others - waiting with bated breath to see who would be the next man in the dugout.

When the Northern Irishman was officially appointed full-time manager in Glasgow for the second time, Evans found himself harking back to the conversation with his mate at Leeds' ground. "I remember Neil Lennon brought Bolton Wanderers down to play us and we beat them 2-1," Evans told Herald and Times Sport.

"Neil was managing all sorts of nonsense behind the scenes at that time, but he came in for a beer after the game and he made the remark that I was very lucky. We had 30,000 supporters in the stadium and a lot of positives.

"When he went back to Celtic for the second time I sent him a text saying, 'You're now the lucky one'. Dermot Desmond, to me, is a very clever man and Peter Lawwell is a good guy. To lose someone on such short notice as Brendan Rodgers, you have to bring someone in immediately who commands respect and will be passionate and fight, who will live and breathe it. I thought when I saw they were talking with Lenny I was, as a supporter, hopeful he would get the job."

A competitive manager with bags of experience himself, Evans has always harboured ambitions of holding the reins at Parkhead one day. He describes the thought as his 'dream job'. Having worked at one of English football's all-time powerhouse clubs in Leeds, he understands the magnitude of the role he once had.

But even that would not eclipse Celtic. "I was at Leeds and everyone at the time, and still today, would recognise that they are probably one of the four or five biggest clubs in British football," he added. "I remember someone asked me, in terms of UK football, what would be considered a bigger job.

"I didn't say Liverpool, Manchester United or Manchester City. I said Glasgow Celtic. It would be a dream job."

After Rodgers made the move to Leicester City, leaving his former club in the lurch mid-season, some Hoops-supporting coaches may have allowed the romance of their beloved club in need to convince them to apply. Not Evans.

The thought of even registering interest, in fact, suggested to the self-deprecating Evans that he would have no chance of landing the role. "I never applied for the Leeds job when it came up, nor did I apply for the Rotherham job or Gillingham," he said.

"I think when the Celtic job came up, if you're Peter Lawwell, you'd have the key list of things to do and want to find someone who knows the club, knows how they work and after five or six check points, they'd only have two or three names on the list. And I certainly wouldn't be one of them.

"I've always thought, with football jobs, if you're applying then perhaps you're not going to be the person who gets the job."

Evans has spent his entire management career in England despite, somewhat ironically, playing all his senior football in Scotland. So he knows the standards down south. He knows what it takes to play at the highest level.

Naturally, then, he knows which players who have donned Celtic's green and white could make it in the Premier League. Unsurprisingly, Celtic's longest-serving player and captain Scott Brown is the first who springs to mind. "There's not a Celtic supporter alive who has watched the past decade who wouldn't talk about Broony," he said.

"I think he would have been a star had he come to the Premier League but he chose, in my opinion, wisely. He's an incredible player. The front players at Celtic, as well. The club have always had a knack for signing good front players. They've been able to bring good young players through and I think I'd like to continue to see that."