Neil Lennon has revealed it was Mikael Lustig’s decision to call time on his Celtic career.
The Hoops boss led the tributes to the Swede after the 32-year-old announced he was moving on after seven-and-a-half years at Parkhead.
The right-back racked up more than 275 games in the Hoops as he amassed eight league titles, four Scottish Cup medals and four League Cup wins.
But there were signs of frustration from Lustig last week as he took a swipe at Celtic’s handling of his situation as the clock ticked down on his contract.
Speaking while away on international duty, the former Rosenborg defender said:
I am proud of how I have handled the situation and those closest to me, the players and the leaders at Celtic know what has happened. It could have been handled differently, in terms of what has been said and what happened.
But Hoops boss Lennon – who signed Lustig during his first stint in charge at Celtic Park – insists it was the player who decided to depart.
He told the club’s website: “I was delighted to bring Mika to Celtic and he has been phenomenal for me and the club.
“Mika has chosen to move elsewhere, but that is absolutely his right, these things happen, but it will not in any way take away from what he has achieved at Celtic.
“I wish Mika nothing but success for the future, he has been a brilliant servant to the club and has made a massive contribution to everything we have achieved across so many years.
“It has been a privilege to work with Mika. A top international player, he always gave everything for the team, he gave his heart and soul to every performance and I loved having him on my side.
“I am sure he will go on and continue to enjoy a really successful career, and myself and everyone at the club wish Mika and his family nothing but success for the future.”
Parkhead chief executive Peter Lawwell added: “Mika has been a huge part of Celtic over so many years and I am sure all our fans, as well as thanking him, will wish him well in everything he does in the future.
“His appearances and trophy count at Celtic and the number of international caps he has achieved, demonstrate exactly the level of player Mika has been consistently over a long period of time.
“For Celtic he has been a real force, a highly-talented player who always fought for our cause. He has been crucial to so much of what we have achieved as a club.
“Everyone at the club sends their best wishes to both Mika and his family and we hope they enjoy a very successful future.
“As well as making a huge impression on the club over so many years since he joined, Mika leaves Celtic as a treble treble champion, something he should always be immensely proud of.
“We thank Mika for everything.”
Lustig, who has been linked with moves to Malmo and Gent, thanked the Celtic faithful in an emotional Instagram post.
He said: “I had no idea how much this club and everything that comes with it would mean to me when I signed 7.5 years ago.
“It’s time for me and my family to move on, start a new chapter in life.
“To make a post on Instagram isn’t enough to express my feelings and thoughts about the situation.
“I wish I would’ve had the chance to get a proper goodbye.
“I just want to say thank you to everyone I’ve had the honour to meet and work with at Celtic, all the players and staff.
“The memories will stay with me forever. Thank you to all of you that made Glasgow feel like home for me and my family for so many years.
‘I will never forget your support. Hopefully I’ll see you all soon. I’ll definitely be back for the 10 in a row party!”