Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell says club will 'do everything we can' to win Scottish Premiership; He also reiterates backing for under-pressure manager Neil Lennon; Chairman Ian Bankier says board took advice before turning down Rangers licence resolution
Monday 14 December 2020 15:18, UK
Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell maintains the Scottish champions have not given up hope of an unprecedented 10th consecutive league title.
Lawwell, speaking at the club's annual meeting, also defended the decision to keep faith with manager Neil Lennon, despite a recent slump in results which led to just two wins in 12 matches.
Lennon's team are currently 13 points behind their Old Firm rivals Rangers in the Premiership - albeit having played two fewer games - and are out of both the Europa League and the League Cup.
Of fan frustrations after another weekend protest outside Celtic Park, Lawwell said: "I can fully understand it. We are all Celtic supporters here.
"I can understand the frustration and disappointment that in a big year we have had such a difficult run over the last eight weeks - and that's what it is, eight weeks.
"Neil's credentials as a Celtic man and a manager are there for everyone to see. He came back in February 2019.
"He probably had everything to lose and nothing much to win but he came in, did a fantastic job, won us the league, the cup, the 'treble treble'.
"He then took on the team again, we won the League Cup, beating Rangers in the final, and we won the group section of the Europa League.
"We then get our nine in a row title and he has got us into the Scottish Cup final next week, which is hopefully the unprecedented 'quadruple treble'.
"He was the man in February 2019, he was the man for it last summer and we believe he is the man for it just now. As always, our duty and responsibility is to do the right thing for Celtic.
"We have no other agenda, purpose or motive, other than to make the right decisions for this great club which will take us forward.
"We haven't given up. It is going to be very difficult in this big year for the league but we haven't given up.
"There are circumstances that have put us in this position. We will go and do everything we can to get the league this year."
In a meeting where Lennon conceded his team has struggled without supporters at games, Celtic chairman Ian Bankier said they are working with authorities on a safe return to grounds by fans.
Bankier also addressed a failed motion to ask UEFA to investigate the granting of a European licence to Rangers in 2010.
The resolution was stood down with a 97.18 per cent majority, with Celtic directors' votes included in that figure.
Bankier said: "The board knows this is important to shareholders. The board has spent time considering this subject, taken professional advice and thorough courses of action.
"We are bound by law to make the best decision for shareholders. Peter Lawwell raised this in 2011 and 2012, before resolution 12 was raised in 2013.
"The club called for independent review for licensing process, the SFA declined. The club remains of same view but can't control what the SFA do."