Celtic: Neil Lennon thanks board as he becomes first to win treble as player and manager

It's a monumental achievement - Celtic's Lennon on quadruple domestic treble

Neil Lennon thanked the Celtic board for keeping faith as he became "a unique band of one" by securing a domestic treble as player and manager.

A run of recent poor results had dumped Celtic out of the League Cup, Europa League as well as leaving them adrift of Rangers in the Premiership.

But they secured a 12th domestic trophy in a row with a shootout win over Hearts in the Scottish Cup final.

"It's a monumental achievement," said Lennon.

"It's a very special moment for me on a personal basis.

"It's never been done before and you can see how difficult it is."

The Northern Irishman had to endure fan protests outside their stadium calling for him to be sacked during a run of five games without a victory, but he has retained the support of chief executive Peter Lawwell and major shareholder Dermot Desmond in his quest for his first treble as a manager.

"I would like to dedicate it to Mr Desmond, Peter and the board for their unwavering support over the last few months," he told BBC Scotland after the win in the delayed 2019-20 final. "It's been a difficult time and the players - they've been absolutely magnificent.

"I've been here 20 years and I think I'm the first person to do it as a manager and a player. So I'm in a unique band of one and I'm very proud."

Lennon hinted that the task of completing the quadruple treble - and embarking on a quest for a historic 10th league title in a row - had affected his players, who currently find themselves 16 points behind city rivals Rangers, albeit with three games in hand.

However, he suggested: "The weight of all this expectation has gone. That's 12 trophies in a row, we're out of the League Cup and now we can just focus on the league and [Scottish] cup again.

"Trophies aren't easy to win. That's 12 in a row and you'll never see that again."

'It was a great cup final'

Celtic squandered a two-goal half-time lead and were also 3-2 ahead in extra-time against a side who were relegated to the Championship at the end of last season.

"I didn't think we played poorly at all," Lennon added. "I thought it was a great cup final.

"We said before the game we'd come up against a very heavily motivated team, we did, but we had good control of the game and we just came off it a little bit. And then we get the third goal and you're thinking 'see it out' and we can't do that. It's just pure drama.

"They really felt it today, you could see that. The longer the game went on you could see the anxiety coming in and it showed.

"I even watched the penalties on a screen with our analyst, just the two of us, because I just wanted to watch them in the peace and quiet."

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