NEIL Lennon has, it is fair to say, been no stranger to success during his time at Celtic both as a player and as a manager.

Indeed, he has now, with the Ladbrokes Premiership and William Hill Scottish Cup triumphs he celebrated last month, lifted no fewer than 18 trophies with the Parkhead club in total in both guises.

Yet, Lennon, who was yesterday, as expected, unveiled as the treble treble winners new full-time head coach, still recalls the defeats he has involved in just as vividly as the victories.

He will be attempting to ensure the Glasgow club equal the record run of nine consecutive Scottish titles that they recorded in the 1960s and 1970s and that their city rivals Rangers equalled in the 1980s and 1990s next term.

However, the Northern Irishman feels that Celtic should really be going to in the 2019/20 campaign looking to complete 10-In-A-Row. He is still haunted by the failure to win the league at the end of his first full season in the dugout eight years ago.

His side had led with four games remaining. But a costly 3-2 defeat to Inverness Caledonian Thistle away ultimately dashed his hopes. The memory of that missed opportunity still rankles. He will, then, not lack motivation in the coming months.

“Initially when I came in it was a huge challenge after Tony (Mowbray) had left (in 2010),” he said. “You had Walter (Smith) on the other side of the city who had won two titles in a row. We had a bit of a rebuild to do then with (Artur) Boruc and (Aiden) McGeady, who were hugely talented players, going. We had to do a major job on the team.

“We should have won the league. It’s all ifs, buts and maybes, but we had it in our own hands with a few games to go and let that one slip. I’m owed one, I think. Does it still nag away? Of course it does. We could be on nine-in-a-row going into ten. To lose the league in that fashion . . .

“We got to two cup finals as well, winning one (the Scottish Cup) and losing one (the League Cup). It was an exciting season, but, ultimately we fell short on the big one. There was always a hunger there to rectify that.

“There are always targets, always incentives, always something that you want to achieve. I have got a lot here that I want to do.”

The situation that Lennon has inherited from Brendan Rodgers, who left for Leicester City back in February, is far healthier than the one he came into first time around. Celtic have won the last nine titles and have a talented and youthful, if bloated, squad of players. His task, though, will not be without its considerable challenges.

The squad requires major surgery for a start. Players who are surplus to requirements will have to be offloaded, new recruits will need to be brought in. There will, too, be a change of football philosophy. Lennon, wisely, didn’t tinker with the playing style that Rodgers advocated when he came in. But he will have a free reign now to stamp his own ideas on the side.

“Things have obviously changed enormously for the club in terms of domestic dominance,” he said. “It’s still a difficult job, but now I am older, I have a good backroom team already in place and a core group of players who are winners.

“The playing style is more possession-based and it works. But I would like us to have a little bit more impetus and purpose with our passing going forward.”

The football landscape has changed immeasurably since he last occupied the dugout at Parkhead too. Lennon made some exceptional signings, Fraser Forster, Gary Hooper, Victor Wanyama and Virgil van Dijk to name just four, when he was in charge previously. But unearthing those sort of gems has become more difficult due to the vast sums of money on offer to players down south.

“The big elephant in the room is England,” he said. “It is on the doorstep. Everything is relative to England. When you are talking to players in the Premier League or the Championship the wage bills are now inflated to what they were even three or four years ago. There is so much more money down there now.

“That is a difficulty and a constraint in itself. Nothing has really changed in terms of going to try and get players to come and play here first of all and pay them a good wage.”

Still, the 47-year-old, who has been assisting the club recruitment team in their scouting work in recent months, remains confident that the squad can be improved and strengthened.

Asked if Celtic could still compete in the transfer market, he said: “Yes, I think so. The club has done that in the last few years. Stuart Armstrong, for example, was bought for £1 million. Moussa Dembele came up from Fulham in the Championship and went for a lot of money. There are a few others as well.

“I think we will look right through the team, where we can improve and where we can freshen. They looked tired and that is understandable. I think they need a hand. It doesn’t need major surgery, but if we can get some quality in, freshen up and give them a lift then that is what we will endeavour to do.”

Lennon was away in Marbella last week helping his agent and friend Martin Reilly celebrate his 50th birthday. He found the reaction to his appointment among the Celtic supporters he encountered to be positive despite the negativity from an element of the fan base online. But he understands the the demands on the job he has taken on.

“The response has been great, and not just from Celtic fans but from supporters from all over Britain,” he said. “There were Celtic fan, Liverpool fans, you name it, coming up and asking for photographs and saying: ‘You’ve done great’. That meant a lot. It’s not all doom and gloom.

“People you meet outside, people who are outside of the (social media) bubble, talk about how big an achievement it (the treble treble) was. You’ll always get the ones who downplay it and the other half who support it, that’s the way it is.”