Neil Lennon says that Celtic’s “frustrating and disappointing” Premiership season is behind his decision to resign as manager.
Lennon’s position was under review and a second defeat of the season by Ross County on Sunday put the former Hoops captain further under pressure.
The 1-0 loss in Dingwall left Celtic 18 points adrift of Rangers with eight games remaining. What’s more, the result heightened the prospect of the Ibrox side clinching the Scottish Premiership title at Parkhead on March 21.
Some of Lennon’s closest former Celtic team-mates had argued in recent weeks that it was time for him to depart.
The Scottish giants announced his resignation on Wednesday morning, with Lennon pointing out that his side’s inability to hit their previous heights and similar lack of a consistent run influenced his call.
Lennon said (via celticfc.com): “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.”
Lawwell pays tribute to Lennon
Celtic’s chief executive Peter Lawwell insisted that he will always hold “true Celtic man” Lennon in the “highest regard”.
He added: “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.”
Current assistant manager John Kennedy will take temporary charge.