Neil Lennon “is the number one candidate” for the permanent manager’s job at Celtic, says former team-mate John Hartson.

Lennon, 47, took over until the end of the season for his second spell in charge following Brendan Rodgers’ departure to Leicester in February.

Unbeaten in Lennon’s 10 games this term, Celtic need one more point to clinch the Scottish Premiership.

“He’s done everything asked of him,” Hartson, 44, told BBC Scotland.

“Some may be moaning about the quality of the games at the minute, they’ve drawn a couple, but the football hasn’t been brilliant all season, even under the previous manager but we’re on the cusp of a historical treble treble.

“There are big decision to be made on players. You’ve got five or six players who’ll go back to their respective clubs from loan spells; they’ve got to be replaced. There are decisions on current players to be made, players who aren’t playing on a regular basis.”

‘His middle name is pressure’

Hartson and Lennon played together at Celtic during the managerial tenures of Martin O’Neill and Gordon Strachan but the former striker says it is not just because of their friendship that he is backing the Northern Irishman.

“He’s become a better manager from being away,” said the Welshman at the John Hartson Foundation golf day at Turnberry.

“He went into Hibs [in 2016] and did an exceptionally good job. They finished in the top six last season, he got them up from the Championship at his first attempt.

“This season didn’t go as well for him as previously, but they liked him at Hibs, I thought he played good football. He’s got a bit wiser.

“His middle name is pressure, Neil Pressure Lennon. He’s dealt with pressure all his life. It’s water off a duck’s back to him and he loves it.

“He enjoys the pressure, you’ve got to. You get involved with Celtic or Rangers, and this is what you buy into. You’ve got to win; second is not acceptable. Neil Lennon thrives on pressure – he’s had it all his life.”