Neil Lennon made light of the grief he received from a small pocket of St Mirren’s fans camped behind the Celtic dugout, talking of receiving “stick”, which was “nothing new in Scotland”.
He was quick to clarify that the flak was more banter than anything more sinister, and, actually, he enjoyed a laugh about it later given the timing of one particular volley.
“The timing was brilliant. They were saying ‘You’re pish, Lennon, you’re getting the sack in the morning’ and at that exact moment Joe Ledley scored. The timing was absolutely perfect,” smiled the Celtic manager.
Lennon was psyched up for this, stating later that had Celtic lost then their season was as good as over in a competitive sense, the SPL title effectively already won and the last-16 Champions League tie with Juventus effectively lost, though he didn’t go so far as to concede victory to the Italians.
“This victory, psychologically, will give us a huge lift going into Wednesday night [in Turin],” he said, singling out James Forrest, who created both Celtic goals. “I’m delighted we’re through and we deserve to be through. We played really well in the first half and we had to grind it out in the second half, but Cup ties can be that way. We gift-wrapped St Mirren a goal but I’m pleased that we’re in another semi-final.”
St Mirren boss Danny Lennon said he was proud of his players and delighted with their application. St Mirren made a battle of it, but lightning didn’t strike twice in Cup football as the manager hoped it would after their felling of Celtic at Hampden in January.