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After confirmation on Thursday that he will step down after four years at the helm, the Northern Irishman says farewell to the Bhoys as he goes in search of "a new challenge"

Departing Celtic manager Neil Lennon says that "it was an absolute honour" to have been associated with the club.

The Northern Irishman took the reins as caretaker boss in March 2010 and was given the job on a permanent basis ahead of the 2010-11 season, overseeing four trophy-laden years at Celtic Park.

He guided the team to three league titles and two Scottish Cups to further enhance his standing at the club after seven years there as a player between 2000 and 2007.

Lennon has been heavily linked with the vacant position at Norwich City in recent weeks and it was suggested in some quarters that he held concerns over Celtic's playing budget for next season.

"I have supported Celtic all my life and the club will always be part of me," the 42-year-old told the club's official website.

"It was an absolute honour to play for this great club, to captain the team and of course to become Celtic manager, a position which I cherished dearly.

"However, I feel the time is now right to move on to a new challenge.

"Of course, I am very pleased that I will be leaving Celtic as Scottish champions and with the club in such good health. I wish the club nothing but good fortune going forward.

"Serving the club was always a privilege. I have always given my best and aimed to do all I can to ensure success for Celtic, as a supporter it was all I wanted.

"I will now assist the club in appointing my successor. As ever, we will need our fans' support and I am sure they will give the club and the new manager the same great backing which they gave to myself."