Neil Lennon hails Celtic players for ‘perfect game’and hits out at detractors

Neil Lennon has claimed his Celtic players achieved perfection and cocked a snook at their detractors in their 2-0 Old Firm victory at Ibrox.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon celebrates his sides 2-0 victory at Ibrox with captain Scott Brown, whom he claimed had been written off before the match. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS

Goals from Odsonne Edouard and Jonny Hayes earned a win over Rangers which Lennon says was as satisfying as any in his career.

The Celtic manager revealed just how irked he was by the pre-match narrative surrounding the fixture which Rangers went into as favourites after their unbeaten start to the season under Steven Gerrard.

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Lennon even drew a comparison with golfer Brooks Koepka’s complaints earlier this year when the two-time US Open champion was omitted from pre-tournament promotion of the event.

Celtic’s own support, some of whom have been highly critical of Lennon since his reappointment as manager on a permanent basis, were also in his firing line.

“It was a perfect performance from start to finish today,” said a bullish Lennon. “We were outstanding.

“We were an afterthought coming into this fixture. I was an afterthought, my board were an afterthought. It was all about the opposition and what they were going to do to us.

“We didn’t listen to any of it, we stayed strong and played brilliantly. Even in Sky’s promo for the game, there was no picture of me, it was all about Steven. I feel like Brooks Koepka here.

“We came here to win, we came here to be strong. In the first half we bossed it. Scott Brown was outstanding – he’s another one who’s been written off, by the way.

“There were outstanding performances from Boli Bolingoli and Christopher Jullien at the back. And I’ve got a front four who are a handful for any team.

“I thought we deserved to win the game by more. The second goal was the icing on the cake. We defended strongly when we needed to. It was a great performance from Hatem Elhamed, coming in from the cold.

“The personality, character and strength of the team was evident today when everyone, including some of our own supporters, had written us off.

“So we are proud, we take the three points and psychologically it’s a nice win for us. We move on.

“Yes, it’s as satisfying as any win I’ve had over Rangers. Everyone had written us off in the build-up. The bookies had Rangers as favourites and I asked ‘Why?’ on Friday. We came out and proved we are going to have a big say in the title race, that’s for sure.

“Listen, you’re the ones writing the stories. You’re the ones, the so-called experts and pundits, who are giving your opinions on radio, on TV, in the papers. You want us to fail because we have been so dominant.

“But we’re not prepared to give up our title just yet. And neither are the players. And neither are the board.

“I can’t speak highly enough of the players, they were absolutely brilliant. I couldn’t have asked any more. It was the perfect performance – really hard professional football, with quality.”

Lennon confirmed he is hopeful of concluding a deal for Scotland left-back Greg Taylor before the transfer window closes tonight. Celtic duo Jack Hendry and Calvin Miller are involved in a potential cash-plus-player deal for the Kilmarnock man.

“There is a bit of a hold-up in that one but not through our end,” said Lennon. “It’s a third party so we’ll see how that develops. “But Boli Bolingoli can be absolutely delighted with his performance at left-back against Rangers, having been written off – more or less – in every single game so far. I hope that really kick starts his season because he’s shown a lot of good qualities.”