NEIL LENNON will celebrate his 49th birthday today preparing Celtic for the new season.

The Irishman has made a triumphant comeback to Parkhead after answering the SOS in February last year following Brendan Rodgers’ swift departure to Leicester City.

Lennon saw the team over the line for their eight successive title victory while seeing off Hibs (2-0), Aberdeen (3-0) and Hearts (2-1) on his way to a Scottish Cup win.

He added the ninth consecutive championship in a campaign that had to be prematurely ended due to the coronavirus pandemic after already adding the Betfred League Cup following the 1-0 success over Steven Gerrard’s Ibrox outfit on December 8.

One man who has been impressed by the efforts of Lennon is former gaffer Davie Hay who recognised the hard work the manager had to do to set up the title kings for the beginning of last season.

He had to overhaul the first-team squad in the summer with the likes of Kieran Tierney, Dedryck Boyata, Mikael Lustig and Emilio Izaguirre all leaving to present him with a rebuild to keep the club on course.

Lennon brought in replacements such as Christopher Jullien, Jeremie Frimpong, Greg Taylor, Boli Bolingoli and Hatem Abd Elhamed while arranging the return of fans’ favourite Fraser Forster on a season-long loan from Southampton.

Hay is full of admiration for the manager and, as CQN reported during the campaign, admitted: “It helps Neil Lennon, of course, that he has a core of players in his dressing room who have been over course and distance, but I think that the consistency shown by the players has emanated from the manager’s office.

“Unlike in his playing days and perhaps in his first spell at the club, he has refused to throw his players under a bus when they have had setbacks and he hasn’t been getting too carried away when they have been going well.

“The players know exactly what is expected of them and they are playing as though they don’t want to let their manager, their team-mates, the fans or the club down.

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