Neil Lennon has revealed he was offered the Celtic manager’s job in the dressing room shower after guiding the club to a domestic treble.
Lennon’s side defeated Hearts 2-1 at Hampden to clinch the Scottish Cup, securing a ninth domestic trophy in a row for the Glasgow side.
The former Parkhead captain took over after Brendan Rodgers left for Leicester City in February.
“It’s just a privilege,” Lennon told BBC Scotland.
Lennon, who previously managed Celtic between 2010 and 2014 before moving on to Bolton and then Hibernian, was approached after the match by club chief executive Peter Lawwell and Dermot Desmond, their largest individual shareholder.
He said: “Peter and Mr Desmond and a few members of the board came in afterwards to the shower area. We had a five-minute chat and they said they wanted to offer me the job.
“It came with massive pressure but I kept it boxed in. I’ve evolved. I’m older, I had four years away, it was always an ambition to come back and manage Celtic again so I’m pleased this day has come.
“I know people may find this hard to believe but I’m a very good professional. I’m dedicated to my job. I had some lows at Bolton and then two great years at Hibs and I believed in my own ability. Thankfully, so did the Celtic board.”
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During his previous four years as manager, Lennon helped to the club to three league titles and two Scottish Cups as manager.
Despite that, he admitted he did not assume a permanent offer would come on the back of adding another two trophies to that haul this season.
“I never expected to be offered the job,” he said. “My remit from day one was to win the league and then if we win the cup we get two trophies and that’s great.
“At no time did the board swerve from that.
“We tried our best to maintain the standards Brendan had set over the last couple of years.”
‘The perfect candidate’
Lawwell said “there’s no better candidate” after Lennon was offered the job within an hour of full-time at Hampden.
He said: “Neil, in our moment of need, stood up to the plate. Over the next few days, we will work out the details.
“We’re absolutely delighted. Fantastic day, fantastic achievement – probably never to be repeated.
“At this point, in terms of looking at the squad, there’s nobody that I’ve worked with who’s got a better eye for a player. It’s better to do that [offer him the job] tonight to just kill the speculation.”
‘We all found out on Twitter’
Celtic captain Scott Brown was originally interviewed post-match giving his backing to Lennon being offered the job.
After news eventually found Brown, he said: “It’s phenomenal. It can’t get much better.
“We all found out on Twitter and all the lads are diving about in the changing room. We went out, got the gaffer and brought him back in. The cheer for the manager to get the job – it was phenomenal. He deserves it. It has been a hard one since he came in but he’s the only man in my eyes for the job.
“He has had to win two trophies and yet again he has shown that he knows how to win trophies. He’s a fantastic man manager and he’s been fantastic since he came in. He speaks well and every single one in that changing room loves him.”