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LENNON REPRIEVE Downpatrick's Conor Hazard is the Celtic hero as they seal historic Scottish Cup win

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Neil Lennon, Manager of Celtic lifts the William Hill Scottish Cup with Scott Brown of Celtic after victory in a penalty shoot out in the William Hill Scottish Cup final. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Neil Lennon, Manager of Celtic lifts the William Hill Scottish Cup with Scott Brown of Celtic after victory in a penalty shoot out in the William Hill Scottish Cup final. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Neil Lennon, Manager of Celtic lifts the William Hill Scottish Cup with Scott Brown of Celtic after victory in a penalty shoot out in the William Hill Scottish Cup final. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Celtic manager Neil Lennon saluted a 'very special moment' as his side pulled off a victory in a dramatic Scottish Cup final against Hearts.

Lennon has been under huge pressure after a slump in form for Celtic in recent weeks and while their performance against second tier opposition at Hampden Park was far from flawless, they got the win in the end.

Northern Ireland keeper Conor Hazard was the shoot-out hero, with Lennon toasting the moment as Celtic completed a treble in a Cup Final held over from last May.

"It's a very special moment for me on a personal basis," said Lennon. "I've been here 20 years and I think I'm the first person to do it (win the treble) as a manager and a player.

"So I'm in a unique band of one and I'm very proud, but I'm very grateful to the people who supported me and helped me achieve this along the way, especially the players.

"I didn't think we played poorly at all. I thought it was a great cup final. I'm so pleased that we've won it. So pleased for the fans as well. It's just an unbelievable achievement, incredible," said a relieved Lennon.

"The weight of all this expectation has gone. That's 12 trophies in a row, we're out of the League Cup, and now we can just focus on the league and cup again. Trophies aren't easy to win, that's 12 in a row and you'll never see that again."

Hazard, 22, was still struggling to come to terms with his status as Celtic hero after helping the Hoops to a thrilling William Hill Scottish Cup final win over Hearts.

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Leigh Griffiths of Celtic celebrates victory with Conor Hazard of Celtic following a penalty shoot out in the William Hill Scottish Cup final. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Leigh Griffiths of Celtic celebrates victory with Conor Hazard of Celtic following a penalty shoot out in the William Hill Scottish Cup final. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Leigh Griffiths of Celtic celebrates victory with Conor Hazard of Celtic following a penalty shoot out in the William Hill Scottish Cup final. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Hazard saved two penalties in the shoot-out as Celtic secured an unprecedented quadruple domestic treble after a pulsating Hampden encounter ended 3-3 after extra time.

The boyhood Celtic fan kept his place last week against Kilmarnock and was again preferred to Vasilis Barkas and Scott Bain for the delayed 2020 final at Hampden Park.

"I don’t think it’s sunk it yet, and it’s been a crazy week and a half now," he said.

"Three weeks ago, I would never have pictured this moment, so I’m just trying to take it all in my stride and take each day as it comes.

"In the course of the game, there were goals that we could have stopped but at the end of the day, we’re just delighted with the result and the momentous occasion, and I’m delighted, absolutely delighted.”

Celtic were two goals up after a dominant first-half display but Liam Boyce headed a goal back and Hearts twice equalised following set-piece goals to take the game to penalties.

Former Hoops goalkeeper Craig Gordon saved first, from Ryan Christie, but Hazard immediately denied both Kingsley and Craig Wighton before Kristoffer Ajer drove home to take the cup back to Parkhead for a record fourth successive season and the 40th time in all.

"It doesn’t go through your mind becoming a hero. You just try to save each penalty as it comes, so I’m really delighted," added Hazard

"There’s always a plan to try and make them go a certain way, and I’m just delighted it paid off. Woodsy (goalkeeping coach Stevie Woods) and I worked on it really hard ahead of the game, and did a lot of work on it, so I couldn’t be happier.

"It was a crazy day for me, but I’m glad it worked out. You don’t want to know what was going through my head at that point (after third goal).

"I was quite angry at the time but it was all about bouncing back and trying to get my composure back as quick as possible, which, thank God, I did."

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