Neil Lennon says leaving Celtic was the toughest decision of his life

Neil Lennon has admitted the decision to leave Celtic was the toughest of his life.

The Northern Irishman left the Scottish champions on Thursday after four years having steered the Glasgow club to three league titles and two Scottish cups, as well qualifying for the last 16 of the Champions League in 2013.

Lennon admitted last night that his decision to leave the Parkhead side but was not taken lightly, adding he had no idea about what his next career move would be.

Despite a glittering tenure at the helm, the 42-year-old’s time in Scotland was not without controversy. He was assaulted twice – once inside Tynecastle during a live televised match – and in another incident, two men were convicted of sending him parcel bombs.

Lennon, who also played 214 times for the Hoops during a seven-year period, said: “I gave it a lot of consideration. It’s not a knee-jerk reaction.

“It’s been going on for a while and it was the toughest decision of my life. But it’s a good time to go. The club’s in great health. Four years as manager of Celtic in an intense environment was fantastic and I never dreamt when taking over the job that I’d be in this position now.”

Lennon’s agent Martin Reilly confirmed the former Celtic skipper had decided to leave the club after talks with chief executive Peter Lawwell and the board.

However, Lennon will be involved in the process of selecting his successor.

Former striker Henrik Larsson is odds-on favourite with the bookmakers to step in, with Paul Lambert, Malky Mackay and David Moyes all quoted closely behind the Swede.

“I was asked for my opinion and I’ll gladly give it,” he added.

“They’ve appointed great managers down the years. They want my opinion and my advice would only be part of that process. Going forward the club’s in great hands.”

Lennon has been linked with a number of jobs south of the border but insisted he had nothing in place.

Asked about his future plans, Lennon said: “I’ve no idea. A holiday, hopefully. I’m away with the club on Friday for the Champions League final and then I’ll take the family away for a bit of R & R.”