CHIEF executive Peter Lawwell has paid tribute to the support and all connected with Celtic for winning their ninth successive title.

The SPFL today called a halt to the Premiership season and made the inevitable decision to award the Hoops with the crown.

Neil Lennon’s side led the top flight from day one after their 7-0 romp against St Johnstone in the opening league match of the campaign on Saturday August 3.

Mikey Johnston got the ball rolling with the first goal and Ryan Christie went on to claim a scintillating hat-trick as the champions delivered a message to the rest of Scottish football – title No.9 was in focus.

They have remained the pacesetters and were 13 points clear when football went into lockdown in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

And Hoops boss Lawwell, speaking to the club’s website, emphasised just how much the latest flag – the 51st in the club’s history – means to Celtic and the fans.

He said: “Today you are a champion, you are someone who has contributed to yet another fantastic season for our great club and today you have made history – as someone who has been an integral part of 9 in a row!

“I want to thank you sincerely for your commitment – a commitment that has allowed us to build our team, to deliver yet another major honour and to ensure that once again we have proven ourselves to be the dominant force in Scottish football.

“It is, of course, a real shame that we were not able to see out the league in front of our fans. However, no-one can deny how deserved this title is.

“I want to thank Neil, John Kennedy, Damien Duff, our wonderful players and backroom team and all our staff for all they have given to our cause this year.

“Under Neil’s guidance, we have produced performances of the highest quality. We have produced exciting, attacking, winning football. We have played the Celtic way and won the Celtic way. We are champions for a reason.

“Supported brilliantly by you, Neil and our team have shown such focus and relentlessness, producing phenomenal consistency and ultimately delivering a 13-point margin at the league’s conclusion.

“I am so proud of our team and proud of you for all you have given us.”

The Hoops supremo continued: “While we rightly celebrate this fantastic, deserved achievement we must take time to consider the wider circumstances we have all been experiencing and remember those who have helped us through these unique and challenging times with such bravery and selflessness.

“We dedicate this title to everyone who has cared for us and all those who have been affected by these times of challenge and difficulty. As we have said before, against a backdrop of global crisis, all areas of society are experiencing huge adversity and it is vital that we take a moment to remember this.

“Celtic has a charitable purpose at its core and during these unprecedented times of crisis we felt it was crucial that we stood up and supported those in need. I am delighted to report that through Celtic FC Foundation we have now committed £450,000 to this effort.

“We continue to marvel at the contribution of frontline NHS staff and other key workers to our society and we are very aware that they and so many others in so many different ways require some vital help.

“The work our Foundation has already delivered has been phenomenal and we are delighted to increase our level of support. We will continue to do all we can within the community to make a difference.

“It is my absolute honour to be part of this great institution and it has been my privilege to work in your interests to ensure that we always give you a club you can be proud of.”

Lawwell added: “Today, we share with you the joy of this special achievement. Nine years of domestic dominance is something we should all be proud of and embrace.

“Let’s now look ahead with confidence to many more days of success.

“As we remain in difficult times, we will need you with us on this road – now more than ever. Our unity will always be our strength.

“Enjoy this time and enjoy our 9!

“Thank you so much and continued best wishes to you and your family.”

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