DEEP in the bowels of Hampden, Neil Lennon was at the bottom of a pile-on. The celebrating Celtic players, jubilant after becoming the first Scottish team to record a triple treble, noticed their Northern Irish interim manager coming into the dressing room and knew there was only one way to mark the news that he had just been offered the gig on a permanent basis. Considering he only started working with the bulk of this group as recently as February, it is as revealing a tale as any about precisely why this 47-year-old from Lurgan was the obvious choice to take this job on.

With just weeks before the club are pitched into Champions League qualifying and the quest for nine-in-a-row, the truth is that giving the job to anyone else would have represented far more of a risk. “We all jumped on top of him when we heard he’d been offered the job,” said Callum McGregor. “He’ll be delighted. He answered the call when we needed him and deserves it.

“You need someone who knows the fabric of the club and what it’s all about - in terms of good characters who know you need to win and win well. He was one of the outstanding candidates and it was no surprise to see him get the job. He's got that affiliation with the club and everybody loves him."

Compared to the job he did first time around, ascending from caretaker with a squad in a state of some disrepair after the reign of Tony Mowbray, Lennon is blessed with riches. In particular, he has a group of time-served winners – many of whom have just won nine domestic titles in a row - who he knows he can rely upon. The job this time is one of replenishment, not rebuilding.

“The job he did first time around as manager was when he took a team of mostly British-based players and doing really well with them and getting them organised,” said McGregor. “He now has a good core of players and they’ll help him and he’ll help us. We need some numbers and good quality in the summer to help the lads who have soldiered on in the last three or four months and if we get the right quality and characters then I’m sure we can kick on next season.”

If anyone sums up the spirit in this Celtic squad it is McGregor, a man for whom Saturday was his 67th appearance of a remarkable, if gruelling, season. Typically ending the match standing in as a makeshift left back, the 25-year-old has had the equivalent of four full days of playing time this season, and still has two games to go in the form of Steve Clarke’s opening Scotland double-header against Cyprus and Belgium. As he knows, it isn’t easy to keep churning out three trophies a season, year after year. If it was, someone would have done it by now.

“The game probably typified the season we had in terms of so many ups and downs and showing that character to come back and win the game with two great finishes from Odsonne [Edouard],” said McGregor. “To be standing for the third year in a row after completing another Treble is something that is absolutely incredible.

“There was relief when the final whistle went on Saturday. Everyone has been desperate for us to fail and in our dressing room we know that. The achievement has gone under the radar a bit in terms of winning three trophies every year. The one in November has been forgotten about and then it’s a case of ‘Ach, Celtic, won a trophy and another trophy’.

“But to keep doing that... the club had won three Trebles in their history before we won our first one and now we’ve done it three times in three seasons so that shows you how special this group of players are.”

“I’m really proud to be part of such a big day in the club’s history. The boys deserve it, the fans deserve it, everyone deserves and most importantly the gaffer deserves it for doing such a great job when Brendan Rodgers left. We just heard the news he’d been offered the job after the game. We put the cup down, read it and then put the cup back up again!”

There was no doubt who the matchwinner was on Saturday. Odsonne Edouard, plucked from Paris St Germain for £9m in the summer, emphasised the quality he possesses with the unerring penalty and calm finish when the game was on the line. McGregor thinks he is a £9m bargain.

“He’s a special talent and we’re glad to have him,” said McGregor. “He never gets angry or upset - Broony keeps him happy. When you look at what strikers go for these days - £70, £80 and £90 million - to get someone like that to consistently score goals in big games and decide trophies for your club then it’s probably a £9 million bargain in terms of his return.

“Some people might have been surprised at the price tag but he’s proved his worth, especially this season. For 90 per cent of the season we’ve played with one striker and he’s had to carry the burden of scoring goals and being the main man and he’s done that incredibly well. It’s testament to his character, work rate and fitness to play so many games and affect so many big games so we’re glad to have him.”

McGregor paid tribute to his team-mate Mikael Lustig, whose future is in the air even if news of Lennon’s appointment could make it more likely that he stays. “He’s a special guy and if it is his last game then what a career he had and we have to thank him and he’s one of the Celtic greats,” he said.

And the now the 25-year-old is jetting off to Dubai for a quick break before getting his head round Scotland duty.

“I won’t get much of a rest - the bruising on my foot will probably just go away by the time the Scotland games come around,” he said. “Seriously, I’ve got a few days in Dubai to get a rest on the beach and then I’ll be good to go. It’s an exciting appointment and we’ll be desperate to get something out of this group. We’ll meet the new manager next week and hopefully we’ll have a successful period together.”