NEIL Lennon played alongside two men at Celtic who are widely considered to be among the best signings the Parkhead club have made in their entire 131 year history – Lubomir Moravcik and Henrik Larsson.

Yet, Lennon believes the capture of Mikael Lustig was every bit as shrewd as the acquisitions of his revered former team mates.

The right back netted a diving header against Aberdeen at Pittodrie on Saturday to send his side on their way to a 3-0 win that sewed up their eighth consecutive Ladbrokes Premiership victory and performed superbly during the course of the 90 minutes.

Lennon believes Lustig is deserving of the same legendary status as his fellow Swede Larsson at Celtic given what he has contributed since arriving on a Bosman transfer back in 2012.

“He is right up there in terms of great players at the club, isn’t he?" he said. "We got him on a free from Rosenborg. He’s played Champions League for us, got to the last 16 by helping us beat Barcelona.

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“He’s done the lot. He’s won trebles, he’s been a Swedish international for a long time and has played at World Cups and the Euros. It was a fantastic piece of business for the club.”

The 32-year-old, who had fallen out of the first team before Lennon returned in February, is out of contract at the end of the season and his employers have not yet taken up the option of extending it for another year.

The defender and his representatives are currently in discussions with the Scottish champions about his future and no agreement has been reached. However, Lennon admitted he will be keen to keep him if he is asked to remain in charge going forward.

“I know what he can do,” he said. “I know the personality of the man. He is very important in the dressing room. But first and foremost he is a quality player.

“He has had his injury problems due mainly to the cumulative effect of games over the past few years. He didn’t get much of a rest after the World Cup. But there is a player who has now won eight titles. It says it all. He is still contributing immensely to what we want to do here. He’s a brilliant player and a brilliant boy.

“I would like to keep him. Mika will know more about his role as he gets older, but as a player he is very important to what has been done here over the last eight years."

Lennon admitted that Lustig, who had been replaced by Borussia Dortmund loanee Jeremy Toljan by his predecessor Brendan Rodgers, had been unsettled when he took over on an interim basis in February.

“I had to get his head back in place a little bit when I came in,” he said. “He was maybe looking elsewhere and we wanted to get him back into the team.

Neil Lennon and Mikael Lustig

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“It was a brilliant goal at Pittodrie - a brilliant ball from Callum (McGregor) and a great run and header from Mika. I think we can do that more often, be more purposeful and get the ball in behind defences quicker.”

Lennon admitted that he would like to give Lustig, who only got a fortnight off after representing his country at Russia 2018 last summer, and some of his other regular starters some time out now the league has been won.

“Some of them do need a rest,” he said. “Whether we can do that is another matter. Kieran is going through the same thing as Mika with injury. We may look at that over the next couple of weeks, but we obviously have the cup final in the horizon as well.

“When I came in, we had 11 players injured. That was very difficult to gauge but then we started getting some back.

“We’ve had a lot of injuries, a lot of them rehabbing and breaking down again, a lot of players going through the mill for the club. They need a break, there is no question about that.

“You also have to remember the loss of Brendan would have been huge to the players as well, not just the club or supporters. It was a different voice coming in almost immediately and that takes a bit of adjusting to.”

Lennon, who is hoping to do well enough to be appointed manager permenantly in the summer, admitted that taking charge of the Celtic side following the departure of Rodgers to Leicester City in February had taken its toll on him as well.

“This has been a really tough couple of months for me,” he said. “My life is on hold, I’ve no future plans in place, no holidays booked.

“It was important I accepted that for what it was. I inherited a totally new team and a style of play that I had to get used to and not change it, because it has been successful.

“Sometimes the performances haven’t been up to the expectation levels, but in the main they’ve been pretty good. That’s eight wins and three draws.

“Will people complain? The expectation level is obviously pretty high. Then Rangers went on a bit of a run. But they were playing under no pressure and we know that.

“Our boys have been used to playing under pressure every week for years now. You can see the mentality of the team shining through.”