Neil Lennon resigns as Celtic manager with club 18 points behind Rangers in Scottish Premiership

Neil Lennon has resigned as manager of Celtic with the club 18 points behind Scottish Premiership leaders Rangers.

Lennon, who returned to manage Celtic for a second time after Brendan Rodgers moved to Leicester in February 2019, has been under pressure all season but had previously maintained he would not resign.

He apologised for “letting fans down again” after the 1-0 defeat by Ross County on Sunday, which heightens the prospect of Rangers clinching the title at Celtic Park on March 21.

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Lennon’s assistant John Kennedy will take interim charge of the side.

In a statement on Wednesday, Lennon said: “We have experienced a difficult season due to so many factors and, of course, it is very frustrating and disappointing that we have not been able to hit the same heights as we did previously.

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“I have worked as hard as ever to try and turn things around, but unfortunately we have not managed to get the kind of run going that we have needed.

“I have always given my best to the Club and have been proud to deliver silverware to the Celtic supporters. The Club will always be part of me. I will always be a Celtic supporter myself and I will always want the best for Celtic.

“I would like to thank so many people at the Club who have given me so much and I would also like to thank my family for their love and support. I wish the Celtic supporters, players, staff and directors nothing but success for the future.”

The departure of Lennon follows that of chief executive Peter Lawwell, who will leave his role as Celtic chief executive after 17 years in June and be replaced by Dominic McKay of Scottish Rugby.

Lawwell added: “I would like to pay tribute to Neil for all he has done for the Club in his second spell, delivering our eighth and ninth successive league titles, the Quadruple Treble and winning the last five available domestic trophies.

“Neil has always been and will always be a true Celtic man and someone I will always hold in the highest regard.

“I have watched Neil fight many battles over many years, on and off the field, with a courage and tenacity few could match. Even this season, he has fought so hard and worked tirelessly to turn things around.

“While this season has not progressed as we would have liked, it cannot diminish the character or integrity of a man who has given the Club so much.

“Personally, it is a sad day for me to see Neil leave the Club. Neil is a man of quality and decency, he is someone who will always be part of the fabric of Celtic and someone who will always be welcomed at Celtic Park.

“On behalf of everyone at the club, and personally, I would like to thank Neil for his work as our manager and I wish him and his family good health and continued success in everything they do.”

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