In the ranks of Celtic’s results in Europe, the 2-1 Europa League win over Lazio in Rome on Thursday has to be up there with the best in the club’s history.
For a start, it was Celtic’s first ever win in Italy. In the club’s long European history, they had never won in Italy until Olivier Ntcham’s shot hit the back of the net. Just as importantly, the win booked Celtic’s qualification for the last 32 of the Europa League with two group games remaining. That is a remarkable achievement for a Scottish club.
The architect behind these colossal achievements is Celtic boss Neil Lennon. He has transformed a Celtic side which looked like Europe was beyond them when they lost 4-3 to Cluj in the Champions League qualifiers in August.
It is a completely different story now though, and Celtic look set to have a decent run in Europe. With that in mind, Lennon should be rewarded by the Celtic board with a new long-term contract.
Progression made deserves to be rewarded
When Lennon returned to Celtic as the permanent manager, he signed a one-year rolling contract. However, such has been the progression made by the Hoops in Europe that Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell should give Lennon a long-term deal with the club.
Brendan Rodgers was in a similar situation to Lennon, as when he joined Celtic he was only on a one-year rolling contract. However, so successful was Rodgers that Celtic tied him down on a long-term contract.
Manager has been successful so far this season
It is still early in the season, but it has to be said that Lennon has been very successful for the Hoops so far this season. European success has been coupled by domestic success, as the Hoops are top of the Premiership.
Celtic are also in the final of the Betfred Cup, but perhaps most importantly, are playing some excellent football. That should be rewarded, and Lennon should be given a new contract by Celtic.