GLASGOW, United Kingdom, May 25 – Neil Lennon was offered the Celtic manager’s job on a permanent basis after the Hoops completed an unprecedented third consecutive domestic treble by lifting the Scottish Cup on Saturday.
Celtic needed to come from behind to beat Hearts 2-1 thanks to Odsonne Edouard’s double at Hampden to claim a ninth straight piece of silverware.
Lennon, who previously managed the club between 2010 and 2014, has been in caretaker charge since Brendan Rodgers left for Leicester in February, and the club said his contract details will be confirmed in the coming days.
“One of the best days of my life. It’s hard to quantify what this team has done,” said Lennon.
“We’ll never see it again. You could see the emotion and tension in the game.”
Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell hailed Lennon’s impact to steady the ship when Rodgers left the Scottish champions in the lurch mid-season.
“There is no better candidate and he has earned the right to be the manager of Celtic,” said Lawwell.
Lennon consolidated an eight-point lead when he returned to the club to win an eighth straight Scottish Premiership and masterminded Scottish Cup wins over Hibs, Aberdeen and Hearts.
The Northern Irishman also won 11 major trophies at Celtic as a player.
“They are immortal now,” said Lennon of his players.
“You can’t quantify how difficult it is. In my career to win the treble (once) was the holy grail. They’ve done it three years consecutively. It’s unbelievable.”
Despite losing just once in 14 games during his caretaker spell in charge, Lennon has faced criticism for a string of poor performances.
Celtic were again disjointed for long spells and could easily have been beaten but for a bit more quality and composure from a Hearts side missing a host of key players through injury.
Hearts had not won in five games since their semi-final victory over second-tier Inverness, but they made the breakthrough with their first big chance of the game.
In a crowded penalty area, Sean Clare backheeled to find the free Ryan Edwards to slot home seven minutes into the second half.
Celtic seemed to need the shock of going behind to snap into action and levelled within 10 minutes.
Edouard was tripped by Hearts goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal and referee Willie Collum pointed to the spot.
Zlamal could have made amends, but did not get a strong enough hand to Edouard’s penalty to keep it out.
Celtic paid a club record £9 million ($11 million) for Edouard from Paris Saint-Germain 11 months ago and he took his tally for the season to 23 by coolly slotting hom when Mikael Lustig’s forward header somehow evaded the whole Hearts defence.
“He’s only 21 and he’s taken on that responsibility brilliantly,” Lennon said of Edouard.
“Today was another brilliant show from him in a big game. Again he’s put himself down in annals of the club’s history.
“I like him as a player a lot. His temperament and his quality is fantastic.”