'It means the world to me' - Neil Lennon proud to equal Celtic legend Billy McNeill as he finally wins League Cup and completes treble as player and manager

Neil Lennon celebrates at full timeNeil Lennon celebrates at full time
Neil Lennon celebrates at full time
Neil Lennon has spoken of his pride in becoming only the second man in Scottish football history to win all three domestic trophies as both a player and manager at the same club.

Celtic’s dramatic 1-0 win over Rangers in the League Cup Final at Hampden saw Lennon emulate the iconic figure of Billy McNeill in achieving the feat.

Lennon suffered defeat in two League Cup Finals during his first spell as Celtic manager but Christopher Jullien’s 60th minute goal saw his off-colour side find a way to beat a Rangers team who were the better side for much of the afternoon at Hampden.

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Admitting that he was reluctant to comment on matching McNeill’s record in the build-up to the match, Lennon was full of praise for the manner in which Celtic, inspired by goalkeeper Fraser Forster who saved a penalty from Alfredo Morelos, secured a 10th consecutive domestic trophy triumph.

• READ MORE - Rangers 0-1 Celtic: Jullien goal seals Betfred Cup win for ten-man Hoops as Forster shines“I didn’t want to talk about it (equalling McNeill) before the game but it means the world to me,” said Lennon.

“The League Cup has been something of a monkey on my back as a manager. It owed me one. When we lost the final here to Kilmarnock in 2012, we should have had it home and hosed. So I feel I was due one. It’s just nice to tick that box as a manager.

“Obviously you want to do it in spectacular fashion at times but that’s not always possible. I’m thrilled, really proud of the players. We had to dig in today. I don’t think we played well, we didn’t play well in the first-half. We had to rely on Fraser at times to make some world-class saves.

• READ MORE - Celtic player ratings as the Hoops edge out Rangers to win Betfred Cup final“Then we showed great resilience, great mentality, to get the goal. Then there is a red card for Jeremie Frimpong when we concede the penalty and then they have to dig in again. Mikey Johnston had a great chance to make it 2-0, but I am sure Rangers will say they had some great chances to win the game as well, which they did.

“To come through it and win 10 major trophies is unbelievable. The character and the pride and the resilience that they showed today was outstanding. Sometimes they don’t get asked too many questions at domestic level, but they showed today they have that in abundance as well.

• READ MORE - Rangers player ratings as Gers have 18 shots and miss penalty in Betfred Cup final“I don’t know what you would compare it with, winning 10 trophies in a row - with other clubs around the world or other teams in Scottish football. I’ve not really looked into that but it’s incredible. It’s easy to give it up, to think ‘Oh, it’s not our day today and that’s the end of it’ but they just won’t. It’s amazing. They are an incredible group of players.”

Lennon had special words of commendation for Forster, whose return to Celtic on loan from Southampton has proved a huge success.

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“I’ve not seen a goalkeeping performance or goalkeeper like him for a long time,” said Lennon. “In his first spell here he did some incredible things and now he’s doing it again in his second spell. We’re grateful to have him. He’s buzzing and thrilled to be here. We needed him today. He just stood up and made saves that other goalkeepers can’t make.”