NEIL Lennon will lose little sleep over the fact his team “threw away” a two-goal lead to end hopes of breaking the 100-point mark for their title-winning season. The 3-3 draw at St Johnstone leaves his Celtic team on 96 points ahead of Sunday’s match at home to Dundee United.
“Not really,” Lennon replied, when asked if he was disappointed over the failed quest for 100 points. “We set ourselves little targets, and it would have been a nice milestone but we have 99 goals so can still make that.”
Lennon admitted his team did not deserve to win, despite finding themselves 3-1 ahead with only seven minutes left. The Celtic manager took responsibility for a “disjointed”, “lazy” “unacceptable” first half because he rotated the team and left out a number of mainstays. “We were miles off the level of where we have been, and that was not just the players who came in.” Teemu Pukki, who netted his team’s second, was exempt from criticism, Lennon describing him as “excellent” .
St Johnstone counterpart Tommy Wright had many fringe performers in that category, the Perth club’s manager rejigging his side because of their three-game week in advance of the Scottish Cup final in ten days, and being rewarded with scoring displays from the “excellent” Michael O’Halloran and 19-year-old Scott Brown. “We have a squad of 21-22, and some of them required game time,” he said. “They had to put markers down if they want in the cup final squad and they did that.”
Striker Stevie May did not reappear for the second half after a heavy challenge near the interval, but Wright said: “Stevie is fine.” He may play against Inverness as his team chase fifth place and seek to match last season’s points tally. “The plan was to play him 60 minutes. He took a sore one but he just has stud marks on his shin.”