Celtic: Neil Lennon targets 10 in row after his best achievement in football

Celtic suffered the most with season stoppage – Lennon

Coach Neil Lennon says that leading Celtic for the ninth consecutive title is his best achievement in football – and he wants to overcome it with an unprecedented 10th consecutive league.

The Glasgow team were crowned champions on average points per game on Monday, when the SPFL ended the season.

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Lennon says the title is "fully deserved" as he expects more glory.

"Even when I took office and we arrived at eight, people were talking about ten," said Lennon.

"We had to get the first nine and, fortunately, that was done now.

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"We can go to 10 now, because I know this is at the tip of many of our fans' languages.

"Supporters are talking about 10, and now we can go to 10."

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Lennon's men matched Jock Stein's Celtic nine in a row in the 1960s and 70s and the Rangers race from 1989 to 1997.

The former captain started the current Celtic series, leading the club to three consecutive titles during his first season at the helm. And since replacing Brendan Rodgers in February last year, he has now helped deliver the last two.

Asked about the ranking between his achievements, Lennon said: "It's the best, just his magnitude. It means everything to me.

"I grew up with stories of that [Jock Stein’s Celtic] team. So being here as a manager when we won the ninth consecutive title is very special.

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"When I got the job for the second time, I was under much scrutiny. It took a lot of hard work, a lot of pain at times, a lot of pressure, but all worth it.

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"It probably won't sink for a few days until the magnitude of it all grips me."

Some fans gathered at Celtic Park to celebrate, although the club asked not to

Lennon admits it is "surreal" not to be able to celebrate with his players and staff, as Scotland is still trapped by coronavirus.

And while the club asked fans not to come to Celtic Park to celebrate, this was ignored by some who were seen outside the stadium's main entrance.

Celtic had eight games left and a 13-point lead over second-placed Rangers, who had played less, when the game was interrupted in March.

That gap had only been two points at the turn of the year after the defeat of the Old Firm by an Ibrox team that held a game in hand. But while Rangers faltered after the winter break, Celtic rose 28 points out of 30.

And Lennon insists there is no doubt that Celtic has been "the best team by far".

"Of course, it is fully deserved," he said. "We won 26 of the 30 games, scored 89 goals, we were absolutely rampant throughout the season."

"We were so consistent, we played brilliant football. Even at the turn of the year, when the questions were asked, they found the answers and crushed the second half of the season. As a squad, they were magnificent."

Chief executive Peter Lawwell echoed these sentiments and paid tribute to Lennon, who extended the club's national victory to 11 consecutive trophies after also winning the League Cup this season.

"Under Neil's guidance, we produce performances of the highest quality. We produce exciting, offensive and winning football. We play in the Celtic way and we win in the Celtic way."

Celtic midfielder Ryan Christie told BBC Radio 5 Live Monday Night Club: "It's a little frustrating not to celebrate with fans and teammates, but it doesn't seem like a minor achievement.

"I hope that when everything calms down, we will have a chance to celebrate in the appropriate style with everyone.

"Nobody can dispute that it was fair to crown us as champions when you look at how we were commanders. Crowning us as champions was the right thing to do."

"We looked at the hard work and performance we've had since the start of the season. After being beaten in the Old Firm game, at [winter break] On the trip to Dubai, we pressed the reset button – after that we were scary and Rangers couldn't handle it.

"We may have missed a really good day of trophies. We played some brilliant things, it is frustrating for everyone that the season is over."

"But there is definitely a relief for not having to play the games. Watching the games [in Germany] it is very strange to watch without fans and it looks like a training setting. These are unprecedented times and we are lucky to have taken the decision from our hands ".

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