Neil Lennon’s second spell in charge at Celtic has ended, with the Scottish Premiership side confirming his resignation on Wednesday morning.
Lennon, who had been at the helm since the departure of Brendan Rodgers in February 2019, was under pressure all season but previously maintained he would not quit.
The reigning champions are 18 points behind Rangers in the top flight, with a defeat to Ross County on Sunday leaving their Glasgow rivals just seven points away from ending the Hoops’ bid for ten titles in a row.
Celtic had also suffered a number of poor results in Europe, and an early League Cup exit.
With Lennon’s departure, assistant boss John Kennedy will take interim charge of the first team.
Celtic Football Club today announced that Neil Lennon has resigned from his position as Football Manager with immediate effect.
We thank Neil sincerely for all he has done for the club and we wish him every success going forward.
— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) February 24, 2021
Lennon apologised for “letting fans down again” after the loss to Ross County, which also heightened the prospect of Rangers clinching the title at Parkhead on March 21.
Since returning to the club, Lennon has led Celtic to two titles, two Scottish Cups and a League Cup.
A club statement said: “Celtic Football Club today announced that Neil Lennon has resigned from his position as football manager with immediate effect.
“Neil has served the club with distinction as both player and manager, delivering numerous successes, most recently completing the domestic treble in December.
“In his second period as Celtic manager, he has achieved five trophy successes, to add to his three League titles and two Scottish Cup victories in his first period as manager.”
Lennon said in a statement: “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.
“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.
“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.”
Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell said: “I would like to pay tribute to Neil for all he has done for the club in his second spell, delivering our eighth and ninth successive league titles, the quadruple treble and winning the last five available domestic trophies.
“Neil has always been and will always be a true Celtic man and someone I will always hold in the highest regard.
“I have watched Neil fight many battles over many years, on and off the field, with a courage and tenacity few could match. Even this season, he has fought so hard and worked tirelessly to turn things around.
“While this season has not progressed as we would have liked, it cannot diminish the character or integrity of a man who has given the club so much.
“Personally, it is a sad day for me to see Neil leave the club. Neil is a man of quality and decency, he is someone who will always be part of the fabric of Celtic and someone who will always be welcomed at Celtic Park.
“On behalf of everyone at the club, and personally, I would like to thank Neil for his work as our manager and I wish him and his family good health and continued success in everything they do.”
Celtic’s principal shareholder Dermot Desmond added: “Neil is a Celtic legend both as a player and manager. He has given so much to the club, and with his success over the last number of years – including winning a treble in his own right – he will be very difficult to replace.
“We thank Neil sincerely for all he has done for the club and we wish him every success going forward.”
Rangers boss Steven Gerrard was asked about Lennon’s departure at his side’s press conference ahead of their Europa League second-leg against Royal Antwerp.
He said: “I can’t say I’m surprised because of what’s been going on over there this season.
“I obviously take no personal satisfaction from any manager losing their job.
“I wish him well for the future”.
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