NEIL Lennon last night insisted Celtic will deserve to be crowned Scottish champions for a record-equalling ninth consecutive occasion if this season’s Ladbrokes Premiership is abandoned due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The SFA/SPFL Joint Response Group yesterday took the decision to suspend all professional and grassroots football in the country until further notice due to mounting concerns over public safety. 

It is unclear at this stage whether it will be possible to play the remaining Premiership and Scottish Cup games at a later date.

However, Lennon, whose team are 13 points clear of Rangers at the top of the league table with eight games remaining, believes the Parkhead club will still be worthy league winners if it isn’t.  

“If it’s stopped then we should be awarded the championship, based on the average points per game,” he said. “You know, we’re 13 points clear. 

“It’s the same in England. Would they take the title away from Liverpool? They’re so far ahead. Would they take the Championship title away from Dundee United?
“So I would be shocked and surprised if there was any other outcome, in those circum-stances. I think that’s Armageddon. But it’s unprec-edented. It’s the last 
resort, really, isn’t it?”

Asked if he will take the same pride from Celtic being awarded the Premiership, Lennon said: “There will probably be nobody there to see us pick it up! Seriously, though, yeah. A win’s a win. 

“They have been brilliant all season and have opened up a massive gap. We were hoping to extend that on Sunday [in the game against Rangers at Ibrox].

We had the opportunity to do that. It could have been closed, it could have been the status quo. 

“But we would have had to drop more points in the games that are left than we had all season and I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t have happened. We are over 30 games into the season so if we weren’t to get it I would be very surprised.”

Celtic are bidding to complete an unprecedented fourth consecutive domestic treble in the 2019/20 campaign and play Aberdeen in the semi-final at Hampden next month. 
Lennon, who has given his squad two days off after the Old Firm game was postponed, expressed hope that the competition could be completed in future.  

“It might be [easier to finish the Scottish Cup],” he said. “I honestly don’t know. It would be nice to be able to play the games. It would be nice to be able to play all the games. 

“UEFA are having a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the Euros. I would imagine that will be postponed. The play-offs aren’t going ahead at the moment Whether that [Euro 2020 being called off] creates a window... but then you have got the Champions League qualifiers. So when does it stop?”