Neil Lennon hailed the recovery powers of his Celtic players after they retained top spot in the Premiership less than 72 hours after returning from Rome.
There was no sign of a hangover from the Scottish champions following their stunning 2-1 Europa League win over Lazio as they overcame Motherwell 2-0 at Celtic Park to extend their impressive run of form ahead of the international break.
Lennon made just two changes to his starting line-up and was hugely satisfied with the manner of their display after an emotionally and physically draining midweek assignment.
“They arrived back in Glasgow at four o’clock on Friday morning and they’ve gone out and played ever so well again today,” said Lennon.
“I’m delighted, it’s a great performance, another clean sheet and a good win. We could have won the game by more and I don’t remember Motherwell having a shot on target. That speaks volumes for the way the team are playing.
“So I’m absolutely thrilled and really proud of them, not just the ones who played today but the whole squad throughout this round of games. They have been absolutely sensational.
“It’s been a great week and a great few weeks for us. That’s seven straight wins in all competitions now, so I can’t ask for anymore.
“Some of the football they are playing, the fluidity of the team and the confidence has been fantastic.
“Now we take stock and I think some of them need the break because it’s been a really heavy load of games.
“Hopefully the international boys go away and are successful but come back fit and healthy. It’s good to take stock during the break. But it’s also not ideal, because you are then coming back to another concertinaed run of games.
“You try and maximise the break and have a look at things you can improve on. But in the main I’m absolutely delighted with the consistency and quality of performance.”
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Lennon had special praise for Jonny Hayes who has often been a peripheral member of the Celtic squad but who delivered a Man of the Match display against Motherwell. The 32-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season but Lennon hinted at a new deal for the versatile Irishman.
“He is making it difficult not to be offered a new one,” said Lennon. “He is popular with the other players and he has shown a real reliability, quality and confidence. The pace he brings down that left hand side, he put in several good crosses today. He can play wing-back, midfield or left-back. I’m so happy with him and happy for him.
“He knows his role within the parameters of the squad. His fitness levels are fantastic, his pace is fantastic along with his enthusiasm for the game.
“His game intelligence is improving all the time. I thought he was wonderful today, so he has been a real plus for me. Today was probably his best game.
“But he has played in some big games for me - a cup final, a semi-final, a game against Rangers. He has not let me down. He might not be everyone’s cup of tea but he does a brilliant job for us.”
Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson was left to rue the manner of the goals his side lost as they finished the weekend fourth in the league table.
“It was a good performance but we got punished in conceding a goal after our own free-kick and from an own goal,” said Robinson. “I take positives from the performance but not the result - we are never happy getting beat.”