Celtic title: Proudest moment of manager Neil Lennon's career

Lennon greets the club's delighted fans on his return to Celtic Park
Lennon greets the club's delighted fans on his return to Celtic Park

Neil Lennon says securing the title as manager of Celtic is the highlight of his career, surpassing the five championships he won as a player.

Celtic thrashed Kilmarnock 6-0 at Rugby Park to win the Scottish Premier League for the first time in four years.

"It is the greatest thing I have ever done," Lennon told BBC Scotland. "I'm very proud. The players did it with a bit of style, which thrilled me.

"I felt as if I was on probation. Now I feel the Celtic manager."

Lennon has had to endure death threats and sectarian abuse during his time as Celtic manager and admits he came close to walking away from the job when his side were 3-0 down at half-time before fighting back to draw 3-3 with Kilmarnock in October.

And he was again coy about his future despite the title success.

"Like every season, I'll assess my position in the summer and see what the future holds for myself," he said.

"It's a young team and we're building something we think is special.

"But there are other things outside the football that have affected my life and it's not always an easy thing to deal with."

However, he saw a bright future for his young side and felt he had emerged from the shadows of predecessors Martin O'Neill, Gordon Strachan and even Jock Stein.

"You dream about being a player, you dream about being a captain and you dream about being a manager, but now I'm living the dream," he said.

"When you are a player, you are part of a team. I had Larsson, Sutton, Petrov, Lambert, Mjallby and Thompson to lean on.

"When you are a manager, it is a lonely job, you have to make the decisions.

"I am only young in this job, it's only my second season, it's a huge job with huge expectations, but I feel vindicated now.

"I was walking behind Martin, Gordon, 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."

Celtic chairman Peter Lawwell spoke of his pride in the manager, the backroom staff, the players and the support and pointed out that the Celtic squad had an average age of only 23.

"I am absolutely delighted for him," he said of Lennon. "He has come through an awful lot in the last two years.

"The pressures of being the Celtic manager alone are immense, never mind what he has to put up with off the park.

"But it shows you the strength of character, his willingness to win and his love of the job.

"He's a young man and let's hope he's here for a long time winning titles for Celtic.

"This is not the end. This is the beginning for Celtic hopefully. We want to get back into the Champions League on a regular basis."