By Bill Heaney
Celtic Football Club have announced that Neil Lennon has resigned from his position as football manager with immediate effect.
Neil Lennon has served the club with distinction as both player and manager, delivering numerous successes, most recently completing the Domestic Treble in December.
In his second period as Celtic manager, he has achieved five trophy successes, to add to his three League titles and two Scottish Cup victories in his first period as manager.
Current assistant manager, John Kennedy, will take interim charge of the team.
Celtic manager Neil Lennon and Chief Executive Peter Lawwell.
Lennon was well-liked and admired in West Dunbartonshire for his public relations and charity work and willingness to attend fan social events, including fund-raising for the St Margaret of Scotland Hospice in Clydebank.
But he was targeted and even attacked and assaulted by supporters of other clubs in the street and even within football stadiums such as Tynecastle, the home of Heart of Midlothian in Edinburgh.
The Green Brigade, a section of the Celtic support who are forever involved in controversy and politics which have nothing to do with football, gave Lennon a hard time and possibly sowed the seeds for his resignation.
Neil Lennon said: “We have experienced a difficult season due to so many factors and, of course, it is very frustrating and disappointing that we have not been able to hit the same heights as we did previously.
“I have worked as hard as ever to try and turn things around, but unfortunately we have not managed to get the kind of run going that we have needed.
“I have always given my best to the Club and have been proud to deliver silverware to the Celtic supporters. The Club will always be part of me. I will always be a Celtic supporter myself and I will always want the best for Celtic.
Neil Lennon was assaulted inside Tynecastle stadium when he was manager of Hibernian FC.
“I would like to thank so many people at the Club who have given me so much and I would also like to thank my family for their love and support. I wish the Celtic supporters, players, staff and directors nothing but success for the future.”
Celtic Chief Executive Peter Lawwell added: “I would like to pay tribute to Neil for all he has done for the Club in his second spell, delivering our eighth and ninth successive league titles, the Quadruple Treble and winning the last five available domestic trophies.
“Neil has always been and will always be a true Celtic man and someone I will always hold in the highest regard.
“I have watched Neil fight many battles over many years, on and off the field, with a courage and tenacity few could match. Even this season, he has fought so hard and worked tirelessly to turn things around.
“While this season has not progressed as we would have liked, it cannot diminish the character or integrity of a man who has given the Club so much.
“Personally, it is a sad day for me to see Neil leave the Club. Neil is a man of quality and decency, he is someone who will always be part of the fabric of Celtic and someone who will always be welcomed at Celtic Park.
“On behalf of everyone at the club, and personally, I would like to thank Neil for his work as our manager and I wish him and his family good health and continued success in everything they do.”
Celtic’s principal shareholder Dermot Desmond commented: “Neil is a Celtic legend both as a player and manager. He has given so much to the Club, and with his success over the last number of years – including winning a Treble in his own right – he will be very difficult to replace.
“We thank Neil sincerely for all he has done for the club and we wish him every success going forward.”
Meanwhile, Celtic are searching for a new manager and Dominic McKay, the new chief executive who will replace Peter Lawwell, is lined up to take over at Parkhead in the summer.
Neil Lennon giving support to St Margaret’s Hospice in Clydebank pictured with the late Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, Sister Rita Dawson and chairman Professor Leo Martin. Top picture Lennon’s Celtic team which won the Scottish Cup in 2018 celebrating their victory.