Lennon takes his place alongside the great Celtic managers after championship win
Boss feels vindicated after 6-0 rout of Kilmarnock seals title
Celtic manager Neil Lennon hailed his players as he took his own place as a title winning boss in the Parkhead Hall of Fame.
Lennon’s team clinched the title with an emphatic 6-0 win at Kilmarnock on Saturday, prompting wild scenes of celebration.
Two goals each from Charlie Mulgrew and Gary Hooper and one apiece for Joe Ledley and Glenn Loovens guaranteed the title party.
As the Bhoys celebrated a first championship in four years, Lennon called it the proudest day of his professional life.
“I feel vindicated as a manager now,” said Lennon as the party continued for the Celtic fans.
“When you are a player you are part of a team. I had Henrik Larsson, Chris Sutton, Stiliyan Petrov, Paul Lambert, Johan Mjallby and Alan Thompson to lean on.
“When you are a manager it is a lonely job, you have to make the decisions. You get criticised for them, you get praised for them but you have to keep the middle ground, have to keep a level head.
“I am only young in this job, it’s only my second full season, it’s a huge job with huge expectations but I feel vindicated now. I felt as if I was on probation. Now I feel the Celtic manager.
“I was walking behind Martin O’Neill, Gordon Strachan, Wim Jansen, Davie Hay, Billy McNeill and Mr Stein and now I can step out from behind them and walk alongside them and that is a fantastic feeling for me.
“You are judged on championships, ultimately. Cups aren’t enough. I came here in 2000 and we had a great time, winning championships.
“I wouldn’t say we took it for granted but when you look back on your career, you probably don’t appreciate it until you lost it then you realise what a great achievement it was.”
Celtic have yet to receive the league trophy but Lennon couldn’t contain his happiness after the victory parade at Rugby Park.
He added: “It is the greatest moment of my professional life. It doesn’t get much better than this.
“I am so proud. It is hard to put into words what you go through, today was the epitome of the team; class, pace and there was a swagger about them.
“It looked for a couple of weeks as if they were starting to tire mentally but they found their energy and mojo today and I couldn’t be more happy for them, they are the ones who did it.
“They are babies in terms of football but they have come in for, I think, unjustified criticism. Georgios Samaras is the oldest player in the team at 27 so that says a lot about their youth.
“There is, at times, a naivety about them which I comprehend but to win the championship after 33 games is a fantastic achievement.
“It is a great day for the club and a great day for the supporters.”
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