Neil Lennon following in the footsteps of legends

Posted by Andy Muirhead

Ian MacNicol/Getty ImagesNeil Lennon becomes just the third man to win a Scottish double as a player and a manager.

Neil Lennon has become only the third manager in Celtic's 125-year history to have won a league and cup double as a player and manager of the Parkhead side. The first to secure that accolade was the late great Jock Stein and the second was Stein's captain and successor Billy McNeill.

Illustrious company that the Northern Irishman now keeps.

I have to point out though; I am not claiming that Lennon is on the same level as both Jock Stein and Billy McNeill as a player and as a manager. That would be downright ludicrous.

- Hooper double wins cup

Yesterday's Cup final victory was comfortable. Celtic were in their element and on top of their game. It wasn't an epic performance when looking back at previous cup final wins, but it was a victory all the same and when the final whistle sounded that is all that matters.

Celtic Football Club -- SPL champions and Scottish Cup winners 2013.

I actually had to watch the Cup final for a second time just to see if Hibernian actually troubled the Celtic goal -- in fact, a chicken could count the chances on one foot; that is how easy the game was for Fraser Forster yesterday. In part, it was due to the Celtic defence actually having a great game, coupled with Leigh Griffiths being posted missing in the game also.

You can look at two former Hibees for the way that Celtic went about their business. Anthony Stokes and Scott Brown were the main men yesterday, despite Gary Hooper scoring twice. It was Stokes who earned the plaudits with his performance and won the man of the match award to boot. His agent Gerry Carlile should expect a knock on his door soon from Celtic, as they look to tie up the Irish striker with a new contract.

Despite being out for five months of this season, Stokes' return to the team also signalled some fresh impetus up front for the Parkhead side culminating in yesterday's victory. While his off-the-field antics have been somewhat shady, his actions on the park speak volumes about a player who had to sit out for around half a year.

Then there is Brown, the walking wounded; the Celtic captain has had a torrid time of it this season with injury after injury. But yesterday's game proved his doubters wrong -- and I would be included in that -- his tenacity, guile, determination and desire to fight for every ball gave Celtic the boost they needed. In fact, Celtic have missed him this season and hopefully next season he can stay injury-free and take Celtic forward.

It is in stark contrast to his former partner in the Hibs midfield, Kevin Thomson, who has had his own fair share of injury hell during his career since leaving Hibs and before returning this season to Easter Road. Yesterday's match proved once and for all whom the better of the two midfielders actually is -- Scott Brown.

Hooper deserves plaudits also for his two well-taken goals, after a second half of the season which was poor in terms of performances, the Englishman was back to his best and really should have bagged his hat trick after hitting fresh air a second before Joe Ledley fired home Celtic's third of the game.

Will Hooper stay next season? I doubt it very much, but I would certainly not complain if he did stay. He is a top striker for Celtic both domestically and in Europe, replacing him would be very costly indeed.

One issue I do have with yesterday's game was the exclusion of Tony Watt in favour of the departing Paddy McCourt. It may well have been McCourt's final game in the colours of Celtic but Watt has done more for the club this season thab the Northern Irishman has done throughout this Celtic career and he should have been given the chance to take to the Hampden field. The whole McCourt inclusion stinks to high heaven of pandering to his cult status and a certain element of the support.

If I was Watt I would have been severely ticked off.

As for the summer, Celtic need to strengthen the team in a number of departments -- namely left midfield, another striker and I would also say a defender. The deadwood must be removed from the club and thankfully both Thomas Rogne and McCourt are now heading out of the exit door -- not before time, too. It may sound disrespectful and all Celtic fans would thank them for their service to the club but in reality they should not have been at the club at all.

One final mention has to go to the supporters of both clubs. Hampden was bathed in a sea of Green and White yesterday. It was a great spectacle to behold and the atmosphere from both sets was great. Credit to the Hibs fans in particular, for not walking out on their side as they went down 3-0 and stayed to the end -- unlike last year.

I hope that all those who turned out yesterday now attend their games regularly.

And so that is the final game of the Scottish football season at an end. This season wasn't pretty, in fact, it has been pretty ugly and hopefully next season will be all about the football -- but I doubt that will happen.

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