Neil Lennon joins Jock Stein and Walter Smith in Exclusive ‘9 but not 10 club’

“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,” Neil Lennon stated via the official Celtic FC website in a carefully worded confirmation that he had resigned as the club’s manager with immediate effect.

Agreement had clearly been reached between the manager and his advisors and the outgoing Celtic CEO Peter Lawwell – who retires on 30 June this year – and the club’s biggest single shareholder Dermot Desmond. That allowed Lennon to resign rather than be sacked and that is an all-round better position.

“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.

READ THIS…How Sandman reviewed Neil Lennon’s season last May after 9IAR was won…

“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.

“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.”

Lennon has been left bruised and battered by the manner in which a section of the support turned on him after he refused to accept that the season – regarded as so important by everyone with an interest in Celtic – was failing and failing badly. He was done no favours by his own determination to turn things round or by the incredible support he received from the Celtic boardroom with Peter Lawwell and Dermot Desmond just about the last two Celtic Supporters to accept the inevitable – that Neil’s time was up.

Personally, I reached that decision after the result and perhaps more importantly the shambolic performance against a weakened Sparta Prague side at Celtic Park. Change should have been made then and the season perhaps could have turned out differently.

Ultimately though Neil Lennon has paid the price failing to reach Ten-in-a-Row, joining both Jock Stein and the former Rangers FC (in liquidation) manager Walter Smith in a very exclusive club that Scottish football will recall. Managers who reached 9IAR but came up short trying for the Ten. Only Lennon of the three was sacked for failing.

But in time Neil Lennon will be remembered for what he did achieve at Celtic rather than what he didn’t.

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email

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