Celtic boss Lennon so proud of title-winning Bhoys

NEIL LENNON today showered unreserved praise on the players who have secured three-in-a-row for Celtic.

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Neil Lennon and Scott Brown celebrate making it three-in-a-row
Neil Lennon and Scott Brown celebrate making it three-in-a-row

But the Hoops boss warned it might take years before what they have achieved is fully recognised and appreciated.

That clearly irks Lennon because he is convinced his Bhoys deserve to be lauded for delivering Celtic's 45th title, no matter which teams are in the division or how far ahead of the opposition they have finished.

He is already making plans to defend the trophy again next season - and for years to come - while making more of an impact in the Champions League.

As he celebrated the 5-1 thumping of Partick Thistle to get over the line in the title race, Lennon said: "It's not relief to get the title won, it is just pure joy.

"I have been pretty excited for the last few weeks, and, in terms of the quality of football, I couldn't have asked for more. I am really proud of the players, particularly the ones who have been with me for the four years now. They have been fantastic, absolutely fantastic. Maybe later on down the line people will really appreciate what they have done for the club."

Lennon pointed to the way his players have regrouped after losing their unbeaten record at Pittodrie last month, and said: "The four wins we have had since, 5-0 against Inverness, 3-0 at Kilmarnock, 3-0 against St Mirren and now 5-1 against Thistle have been terrific. Every time we have had an adverse result, they have bounced back really well.

"I knew they had this kind of character, but we have to remember that they are young.

"We haven't shelled out a lot of money on players, and they do take a bit of time to settle. There is a bit of naivety and immaturity about them sometimes, but they can certainly play football.

"Our fans appreciate that, and championship wins are occasions they always remember. It is foremost in their minds, and they ask: 'Where were you when we won the title?"

Lennon continued: "I do feel I'm further ahead with them than I thought I would be at this stage. "Certainly with Nir Biton and Stefan Johansen, we have high hopes as they are really beginning to look the part now and look comfortable with the rest of them Immediatley after last night's game, I mentioned a core of players, including Virgil van Dijk, Fraser Forster and Scott Brown.

"But I am sure I missed a number of them, the likes of Anthony Stokes. It is maybe unfair to single six or seven out because they have all made a great contribution.

"But, we are ambitious and we want to be a European club as well, and we still have a bit to go to reach that. If you have a spare £200million, that might help."

Lennon will look to bring in even more players before the Champions League qualifiers begin in mid-July, but will not allow his players to take their foot off the gas in the remaining matches.

He said: "The seven games we have left can possibly be seen as the start of the build-up to next season's qualifiers.

"But we have an onus to the likes of Thistle, St Mirren and Kilmanrock to put out strong teams, and we will certainly be playing to win every game.

"I will be looking to rotate the squad now. But, we want to get to 100 points, if we can, and every game from here on in we will go strong."

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