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Neil Lennon and Celtic's pursuit of perfect 10 will define how Steven Gerrard is remembered at Rangers

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As expected, Celtic were crowned Scottish Premiership Champions earlier this week and few can argue they weren't the best team this season. Rangers at times threatened to make a real fist of the title race but too often dropped needless points and couldn't maintain the relentless form of their city rivals.

When Neil Lennon was appointed Celtic manager on a full time basis last summer after leading the team to another domestic treble there was a subdued response from some Hoops supporters who seemed underwhelmed by Peter Lawwell's decision.

That in itself added to the pressure and scrutiny already on Lurgan-born Lennon but it's fair to say he's never shirked a challenge in his life and he certainly wasn't going to shun the chance to fulfil his dream of leading Celtic forward once again.

Maintaining the majority of his squad certainly helped with continuity and looking around his dressing room at the winners' medals his team had accumulated must have made Neil's decision a lot of easier.

As a manager, Lennon showed throughout the season he has mellowed personally and wasn't as animated on the touchline as he previously had been and his team reflected that. They were composed, seldom flustered and showed a real desire not to lose games even if they didn't play well.

That was most evident when they defeated Rangers in the League Cup final in December after being outplayed for long spells in the game.

That performance had Lennon's imprint all over it - organised, determined but maintained their concentration and didn't panic, even when they went down to 10 men.

Many thought Rangers winning at Celtic Park in the last fixture of 2019 was the turning of the tide. Rangers going within two points with a game in hand at the time seemed a significant moment in the season, but that was as good as it got for them.

During the winter break again Lennon wasn't unnerved, getting to work on the shape of his team to give his side added flexibility.

With a new look 3-5-2 formation they rattled off eight straight league wins and dispelled the myth that his side would succumb to the pressure from Rangers. They adapted to the tactical change and flourished, blowing teams away as they solidified top spot.

Rangers on the flip side looked a completely different side after the winter break to the one that finished 2019.

They lost to bottom of the table Hearts, then at Kilmarnock and lost at home to Hamilton as they played themselves out of a potential title challenge.

They lost their edge at a crucial time of the season, which was their undoing. Celtic capitalised and showed the ruthless nature of a side that knew how to win major trophies. Celtic are a team full of serial winners, they've been there and done it time and time again and that experience shone through when the heat was on.

With Celtic now at nine successive titles, next season is really shaping up to be an epic one for a number of reasons.

Lennon will be aiming to take Celtic into unchartered territory with an unprecedented 10 league titles in a row. It's never been done before and he can now fully focus on the challenge ahead.

Steven Gerrard on the other hand won't want to be remembered as the manager in charge of Rangers if Celtic achieve number 10. However, stopping Celtic could be the making of Gerrard as a manager and he would go down in history as the man to bring the title back to Ibrox at the cost to their arch rivals.

Football on the pitch may be off the radar at the minute but both sets of supporters know what next season means to them and their respective clubs.

It will be historic one way or the other and we wouldn't want it any other way.


For more news relating to Celtic, visit our sister site Celtic Live.
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