NEIL Lennon today admitted he has big shoes to fill at Celtic after agreeing to take over from Brendan Rodgers as manager on an interim basis until the end of the season.

However, the Northern Irishman admitted it was “ a dream come true” to return to Parkhead and he vowed to do everything he could to help the Glasgow club win their eighth consecutive Scottish title and complete the treble treble.

Meanwhile, Lennon stressed that he hadn’t given any thoughts to taking over on a permanent basis and would be concentrating solely on ensuring Celtic keep performing well.

Asked if it had been an easy decision to take over, he said: “It was a no brainer. I am very, very grateful to be here.

“The board, Peter (chief executive Lawwell), Mr (Dermot) Desmond (major shareholder), have put their faith in me to see out the season. It has been a whirlwind 24 hours.

“We have lost a manager who will go down as one of the greats and I have big shoes to fill. But I am looking forward to the challenge.

“I always dreamed of coming back. I dreamed of it, but I didn’t believe it. It has come sooner than I thought it would.

“I am delighted John (interim assistant manager Kennedy) is here with me. He has prepped the teams and knows the machinations of what goes on behind the scenes. I will be relying on him a lot.”

Asked about getting the job on a permanent basis, Lennon said: “That is not up to me. I am not even thinking about that. The club comes first. It is not about me, it is about the club and the players. It is what the board and the club think is best going forward.

“If I get offered the job, and it’s a big if, I will answer those questions. But I have got a lot of work to do before then.”

Lennon was appointed interim Celtic manager when Tony Mowbray was sacked after a disappointing run of results back in 2010 and did well enough to be offered the job on a full-time basis.

The 47-year-old admitted the club were in a far healthier position now and he had no need to, as he had vowed to do when he was appointed manager first time around, “bring back the thunder”.

“They are different circumstances,” he said. “The team has been unbelievable in the last two and half years under Brendan. When I took over last time the club was in a different position.

“Brendan has raised the bar in terms of trophies. Everything is talking about 10. I would just like to get to eight and then take it from there. I am not looking too far ahead. I know it is an old cliché, but we will just take it game by game. The thunder is here. I don’t need to bring that back. I would like to take some trophies back.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a risk. Yes, there is pressure, but pressure is relative. All managers have pressures. I just want to adjust quickly. Every job you take has an element of risk about it. But I am not worried about it.

“I haven’t got much time to adjust and obviously for the players to adjust. But we need to adapt very quickly.

“They are in a great position eight points clear, but the gap can close over two or three games. We are very wary of that. The platform is there to see it through. We have big game players here so I would expect to see it through.

“It is good to watch good players. From that aspect, it will be a joy. I know the culture of the club. Everything changes, but I am hoping it won’t take long for me to settle in. I am always learning. In fact, when I went up to Lennoxtown yesterday I was learning.

“I will keep the current style. I don’t think there is that much of a difference. I like to play attacking football. It is in the DNA of the club."

Asked what he would change, Lennon said: “Not much. Celtic’s form since the turn of the year has been fantastic, winning games, scoring goals, not conceding many goals. You can always look for flaws. But what I like about this team is their mentality. The quality of football has been exemplary.

“There is a core here who have led the way and I will be leaning on them because they know how to get that done.”

Lennon has been subjected to some sickening sectarian abuse since signing for Celtic as a player from Leicester City back in 2000.

He was reluctant to talk about an issue on the day he was unveiled, but expressed the view that he was better placed to cope with the demands of the job than he was first time around.

Asked if he had been reluctant to take the role because of the pressures it would put , he said: “It never came into my thinking. This is a club that means a hell of a lot to me as a player and as a manager. It is a privilege.

“I know it’s been in the news a lot in the last week or so because what happened with Steve (Kilmarnock manager Clarke). This is not a day for talking about sectarianism. That is for another day.

“These are opportunities that come around once in a lifetime. It has come around twice in a lifetime for me. I will deal with things as they come.

“I am not as volatile. I wanted to take on the world when I first took over. But you learn from that and mellow. But I still have that energy. I don’t have all the answers. I don’t want to be compared to Brendan. He has his way and I have my way.

“What are you trying to say! I have been on good behaviour this year. I have had no issues with referees or linesman – to the point where I have been put on the committee.

“I had a chip on my shoulder. It is not a chip now, but I still have something on my shoulder. I will monitor it as best I can. I don’t want to be sitting in the stand in the run-in.”

Celtic fans reacted angrily to Rodgers’ sudden departure for Premier League club Leicester yesterday and Lennon voiced his hope that he could lift them quickly.

“The supporters feel a bit agitated,” he said. “I get that, I understand that. But it is up to me to soothe that.”

Lennon stood down as Celtic manager back in 2014, but stressed he is enthused about the challenge that awaits him at Parkhead now.

“I had four great years,” he said. “It was just the time I need personally to have a bit of a break. It is high-octane. I took six months out and was ready to for a different challenge.

“I left the club on great terms and that was really important to me. I have always kept a good line of communication open with Peter and the club.”

Rodgers has been tipped to return to Celtic and sign many of the players he has worked with in Glasgow, but Lennon revealed he will urge them to think hard before making any rash decision.

“What I would say to the players form my own experience is once you leave Celtic it’s not the same,” he said. “It is a very special club and a very special support. Once you leave there is a bit of a hole there. My advice would be to think twice before they make any decisions.

Lennon had been set to fly to Doha this week, where he was due to do some media work, but cancelled the trip at the last minute. He said: “I had my Speedos and factor 50 all packed. Now I am here.”