Monday, May 27, 2019

Celtic title win has been toughest job yet, says Lennon

SoccerNews in Scottish Premier League 4 May 2019

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Neil Lennon described this season as his toughest task in management after Celtic clinched their eighth consecutive Scottish Premiership title with a 3-0 win over Aberdeen.

Goals from Mikael Lustig, Jozo Simunovic and Odsonne Edouard ensured Lennon’s men made light work of the Dons at Pittodrie to seal a 50th overall league title for the club, but the  interim manager said getting there had been harder than it looked.

After taking over from Brendan Rodgers in February on a deal to the end of the season, Lennon embarked upon an unbeaten run that remains intact going into the final two league games of the season and the Scottish Cup final on May 25.

“It’s 11 games unbeaten but it doesn’t feel like it at times, with some of the criticism that comes at us,” Lennon told Sky Sports.

“But you have to ignore that, stay focused, and they’ve done an amazing job, the players.”

“It’s been really, really tough. It’s been the toughest piece of management I’ve had to do,” added the 47-year-old, who won three league titles when he previously managed the Hoops from 2010 to 2014.

“I know on the outside people think it looks easy but it’s been difficult going in on my own.

“There was a lot of discontent around the club and a bit of agitation but the players have helped me and I’d like to think I’ve helped them.”

“It’s a real privilege to be here as interim manager or any kind of manager on championship day. It’s very special.”

Lennon paid tribute to his predecessor Rodgers, who won back-to-back titles in just under three years at Celtic Park, and credited his players for keeping their cool in a week when they attended the funeral of club legend Billy McNeill.

“It’s a wonderful moment for the club and great moment for the players and the supporters because they’re the most important people,” said Lennon.

“The players were fantastic once again. They give me the heebie jeebies sometimes with the way they play and take chances.

“I have to pay tribute to Brendan. I have to pay a huge amount of credit to him for this title success because of the foundations that he’s built here.

“I was lucky enough to carry it on so it’s a great moment for me personally and for my family.

“It just felt right this week. We kept really calm, with all the emotions this week of Billy’s funeral. There’s a lot of negativity at times surrounding us and I’ve had to listen to a lot of fake news, but the players have done really well.”

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