NEIL LENNON insists he is ‘proud’ to be the manager to take Hibs back into the Premiership.
The Easter Road side finally ensured three tortuous seasons in the Championship would be brought to an end when they defeated Queen of the South 3-0.
With Falkirk’s failure to take maximum points against St Mirren leaving Hibs in an unassailable position at the top of the table, the celebrations at full-time were clearly tinged with a touch of relief.
Lennon has confessed another year outside the top-flight would have been ‘really damaging’, but the Northern Irishman – who steered Celtic to three Premier League titles – was thrilled to have overseen a successful promotion campaign.
Speaking to Sky Sports, he said: “It feels brilliant, absolutely brilliant.
“I’m really proud of the players and the club because you could feel the burden of being in the league for the third season.
“There was a weight but now it is lifted.
“I am very proud of this accomplishment, personally. It means a lot to me and I’m really proud of the way the players have handled themselves over the season.
“Another season in this division would have been really damaging but we can look forward now.
“We have good players and we are getting great crowds and they have won two trophies in a year, with the chance of another one.
“We are back where I think Hibs belong and we don’t want to be in this division again.”
Lennon has at times publicly criticised his squad when their standards have dropped, and has been frustrated by 13 draws, but they have still only been beaten three times this season and have landed the title with three games to spare.
He added: “My remit was to win the league. I’m not going to sit here and lie and say that the play-offs would have been good enough, they wouldn’t have been good enough for me anyway.
“Getting out this division was tough but we have done it with a few games to spare and our consistency was really good.
“We have changed the mentality of the team and we are a lot stronger.”