CELTIC’S incoming chief executive Dominic McKay has described his move as a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity.
Scottish rugby’s chief operating officer for the past six years will take over from Lawwell who has been in charge since 2003.
McKay, 42, arrives in the east end of Glasgow in June, and, speaking in a statement, said: “Joining Celtic FC as chief executive is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and a new challenge I am very excited about taking on later this year.
“I have been incredibly impressed with the vision and people within the club and I look forward to working with them.
“I can honestly say I have enjoyed the best 13 years of my life at Scottish Rugby and made lifelong friends across the sport and all its numerous Unions, partners, broadcasters and sponsors.
“I am incredibly proud of the progress the organisation has made in recent years and hope I have contributed to the strong foundations now in place, which I believe will serve Scottish Rugby well in the future.”
McKay.will realise he has enormous shoes to fill with Lawwell leading Celtic to a period of unprecedented success which has delivered 29 trophies, including 13 league titles, four domestic trebles and participation in the last 16 of the Champions League on three occasions.
However, a season that promised so much back in the summer has gone disastrously wrong.
The club’s participation in Europe didn’t last beyond the turn of the year with a knock-out from unseeded Ferencvaros in the elite tournament in September and subsequent one win in six Europa League Group H ties where they lost home and away to AC Milan and Sparta Prague.
A Betfred League Cup exit from Ross County ended the Hoops’ 36-game unbeaten run in domestic Cups and sparked unruly scenes outside Parkhead from angry fans in November. The protests carried into December after a dismal 1-1 draw with St Johnstone.
Lawwell apologised for the Dubai trip at the start of the month that saw 13 players forced into quarantine following Christopher Jullien’s positive test for coronavirus upon the squad’s arrival in Glasgow.
With Neil Lennon and his No.2 John Kennedy self-isolating, Gavin Strachan had to play a makeshift line-up in the matches against Hibs and Livingston that ended in draws and saw the champions squander four points.
The Hoops team boss is also under pressure as he prepares for tomorrow’s Premiership game against St Mirren in Glasgow.
The team are 23 points adrift at the top of the table although they have three matches in hand.
The departure of Lawwell and the introduction of McKay will not be the only changes at the club in the forthcoming months.