NEIL LENNON has leapt to the defence of chief executive Peter Lawwell after a shareholder questioned the size of his pay packet at the club’s AGM yesterday.

Lawwell collected over £3m in remuneration from Celtic in the last year once bonuses are included, but Lennon says that he is worth every single penny that the club pays for his services.

“I’ve been in football for a long, long time as a player, coach and manager and Peter is the best, and sometimes you have to pay for the best,” Lennon said.

“He could have left the club or two of three occasions.

“He makes unpopular decisions with supporters at times and with managers at times, but he does it for the best for the club whether it be in the present time or the future.

“We are lucky to have him. I have a brilliant working relationship with him and think he is worth every penny he is paid.”

Celtic chairman Ian Bankier echoed the sentiments of the club’s manager, as the shareholder questioned why Lawwell’s salary has increased so much since he started working at the club some 16 years ago.

“We have just re-elected Peter Lawwell by a very, very substantial majority,” Bankier said.

“It’s easy to say that in 2003 a Mars Bar cost 20 pence and now it’s £1.30.

“It looks bad, but, honestly, we take our responsibilities very professionally and very seriously about finances and funds and expenditure of the company.

“We buy value for money, we buy in the market and we buy what market prices are as best we can.

“I would have absolutely no hesitation in saying Peter Lawwell is worth every penny that we pay him.

“I’m not going to go on about it because even Peter Lawwell gets embarrassed at times.”