MIKAEL LUSTIG has revealed his disappointment at only being offered a one-year extension by Celtic.
The Swedish international right-back was hoping for a three-year deal with the champions after arriving at Parkhead from Rosenborg in 2011 during Neil Lennon’s first stint as Hoops boss.
Lustig, 32, scored with a flying header in the 3-0 win over Aberdeen on May 4 to put the club on its way to an eighth successive title success and edged them closer to the unprecedented treble treble.
The defender also played the full 90 minutes of the 2-1 Scottish Cup Final triumph over Hearts to bring down the curtain on a historic campaign for the club – and also his last appearance for the team.
With the Parkhead hierarchy refusing to budge on their initial 12-month extension, Lustig agreed a three-year contract with Belgian side Gent last month.
ON THE MOVE…Mikael Lustig in a typical action pose.
Lustig, in a report in The Herald, said: “Celtic will always have a huge place in my heart, but, in football, we are not always alone in deciding. They offered to keep me on and, come on, I respect the club too much to say bad things about it.
“But I gave everything to them for eight years. I was expecting a little more respect in return. My family and my ex-team-mates know what happened, that’s the most important thing.
“And I do not want to close this door, I want to feel good when I return to Glasgow.”
Lustig continued: “I started chatting with Peter Verbeke, the sports director of the club, in April. Honestly, I did not know much about the club, so I did not get excited.
“I had other possibilities, I could have gone back to Sweden or play in Italy, but the more my research progressed, the more I found that Gent best suited my aspirations.
“The three-year contract they offered me was also proof that they really wanted me. And I saw that it was a great city, a great environment for my family and I wanted to put their well-being first.
“In Glasgow, I was at home. The squad were very tight, several players had been there for years, we were real friends and we even saw each other outside the club which is more and more rare these days in modern football.
“To achieve similar at Gent, it’s crucial we repeat that and are united like at Celtic.
“At Celtic, we knew at the start of every season we had a good chance of being champion, but to do it for eight years in a row wasn’t easy. Every year it was more difficult.
“I truly hope Celtic reach 10-in-a-row with all my heart.
CHEERS AND CHEERIO…Mikael Lustig, in his last appearance for Celtic, celebrates the Scottish Cup Final win with Scott Brown.
“For me, the most special title was last season because we won the treble for the third time in a row, which had never happened in Scotland.
“But I’m not a trophy collector – the most important thing was not the trophies but the recognition of people.”
Lustig added: “In terms of managers, Neil Lennon persuaded me to move to Celtic so he is the most important coach for me.
“Tactically, the best was Brendan Rodgers…a true perfectionist.
“I only regret that he left the way he did. When you say you are a fan of Celtic you do not quit the club in February.
“I do not approve of his choice and he knows it.”
Jeremy Toljan, on loan from Borussia Dortmund, started Lennon’s first game when he returned to take over following the swift departure of Rodgers to Leicester City.
However, Lustig replaced him in the second-half and kept the position in nine out of the following 13 games as his career at Celtic headed to a glorious conclusion.