DERMOT DESMOND has revealed he tried to persuade Peter Lawwell to remain in his Celtic chief executive role.

The club’s multi-billionaire majority shareholder insisted he wanted the 61-year-old to continue at the club.

Lawwell announced earlier today, as CQN reported, that he would retire from the post he took over in 2003 with Dominic McKay arriving as the new chief in June.

There has been fierce criticism of the club from disgruntled supporters that has seen unruly protests outside the stadium following poor results. There was also a massive back-fire when the champions went to Dubai earlier this month for warm-weather training.

The trip, following the 1-0 loss at Ibrox, went disastrously wrong with 13 players plus Neil Lennon and John Kennedy forced into quarantine when Christopher Jullien tested positive for coronavirus when the squad arrived back in Glasgow.

A makeshift side drew the subsequent games against Hibs and Livingston as the team continued to drop points with the historic 10 in a row bid disintegrating before January was out.

Lawwell apologised for the five-day stop in the United Arab Emirates, but was held personally responsible by many fans for giving the green light to the controversial trip.

However. owner Desmond insisted he wanted the chief executive to STAY – and did everything he could to make him change his mind.

The Irish financier, in a report in the Scottish Sun, said: “When Peter told me he was considering retirement, I did my utmost, unsuccessfully, to dissuade him.

“Celtic Football Club owes a major debt of gratitude to Peter Lawwell, who has made a unique and transformative contribution to our club.

“I have been privileged to work with many CEOs and Peter ranks up there with the best of them.

“Over the years, Peter was sought after by many English Premier League clubs, but his love and commitment to the club and Scotland were more important to him.

“Since 2003, under Peter’s tutelage, Celtic has achieved incomparable domestic success and the number of trophies is unsurpassed by any other Club in Europe.

“Peter’s expertise and professionalism have been recognised by UEFA where he has been an outstanding contributor, to the benefit of both Celtic and Scottish football.

“I have had a first-class relationship with Peter over the years, speaking daily and often multiple times daily.

“The Club and I will miss his wisdom, energy and unwavering devotion to Celtic FC.

“I cannot adequately express my thanks and appreciation to Peter for all he has done for Celtic FC.”

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