Neil Lennon pleased by Celtic mentality ahead of Old Firm clash

Celtic manager Neil Lennon praised his team’s character after watching further confirmation of their revival in the win against Kilmarnock on Christmas Eve.

The solid performance from Celtic was in stark contrast to their previous encounter against the Ayrshire side.

Celtic had to come from three goals down at Rugby Park in October to rescue a point, and Irishman Lennon admitted afterwards that he had considered his position at the interval when his side looked down and out.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Lennon has slowly rebuilt his side’s confidence and belief, and a Georgios Samaras double in the 2-1 home win over Kilmarnock extended Celtic’s winning run to eight games, taking them to a point behind leaders Rangers ahead of Wednesday night’s Old Firm game at Parkhead.

The Celtic boss, though, played down the change in his own fortune from the time when his side were 15 points behind Rangers - albeit with two games in hand - preferring to focus on his players.

“I don’t feel any different,” he said. “I am pleased that the players are playing to their capabilities.

“Ki Sung-yueng has been very good since he recovered from a virus, Scott Brown got stronger as the game went on and Cha Du-ri has been fantastic in the last three or four games.

“Then you have the likes of Gary Hooper, Joe Ledley, Victor Wanyama and James Forrest who have been very consistent since the start of the season.

“There were things we already knew about the players from last season but again they have shown a lot of character and produced big goals in big moments in games.

“Any slip-up could have cost us and the only blip we have had since the Hearts defeat (in October) is the 0-0 game at home against Hibs when we didn’t play as well as we could have done.

“But it can change again. There were some things in the Killie game that didn’t please me and I know we can play better.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“But we are improving all the time and the players have a good mentality.”