NEIL LENNON has applauded Peter Lawwell who stepped down as Celtic chief executive yesterday.
The club supremo retired from his Hoops role after 18 years in the position which saw the team win a remarkable 29 honours, including the phenomenal quadruple treble.
Lennon, who departed the club as manager in February, insisted the outgoing CEO should be “held in the highest regard” for what he achieved at the club.
The Irishman is better placed than most to pass judgement on the qualities of Lawwell, 62, after years as a player and a coach plus two stints as manager during his impressive reign.
Lennon said: “Peter’s legacy is a period of incredible success for Celtic. The club was also very strong financially.
“Dominic McKay has a very hard act to follow and I wish him well.
JUST GR-EIGHT…Peter Lawwell congratulates skipper Scott Brown after winning the eighth successive title.
“Peter’s time as chief executive should never be forgotten. I believe history will judge him well.
“The job he has done for Celtic is phenomenal. It deeply saddened me the level of criticism Peter suffered last season.
“He didn’t deserve that. All he’s ever wanted is the best for Celtic.
“Peter felt the same sense of acute disappointment as any other supporter over how the season unfolded. It hurt him, believe me.
“But he should be regarded as a massively influential figure for Celtic in the modern era.”
During Lawwell’s time in control, the team picked up 13 titles – including nine in a row – plus 16 Cups and there were also three qualifications for the Champions League’s last 16.
The club’s finances reached unprecedented levels, with a record £101.6million in revenue announced in 2018.
Huge transfer fees were also gained through Lawwell who was known as a tough negotiator.
CELTIC’S BIG TWO…Peter Lawwell and Dermot Desmond.
He brought in an all-time Scottish transfer fee of £25million for Kieran Tierney and he also raked in millions in fees and sell-ons for players such as Virgil van Dijk, Moussa Dembele, Fraser Forster and Victor Wanyama.
Martin O’Neill, Gordon Strachan, Tony Mowbray, Lennon, from 2010-14 and 2019-21, Ronny Deila and Brendan Rodgers were the managers during his reign.
Lawwell was also heavily involved in the pursuit and hiring of new boss Ange Postecoglou and he will remain an advisor to the board over the next two years, while retaining a role with the powerful European Club Association.
Lennon, speaking to the Scottish Sun, added: “I’ve known Peter a long time and, with Dermot Desmond, I will never forget his incredible support for me as manager and on a personal level.
“It was an honour to be manager of Celtic for two spells and I’ll always be proud of everything I achieved.
“Throughout my time at the club, including as a player and a coach, I had fantastic backing from Peter. I couldn’t have wished for a better person to turn to for advice.
“Every trophy success was also for Peter and Dermot. It was my way of repaying their faith in me.
“I also had difficult personal moments while at Celtic and they were always there for me.
“Peter deserves to be held in the highest regard for what he did for the club.”