Celtic manager Neil Lennon spoke of the honour he derives from the efforts of his players as they took another step towards a ninth straight title despite requiring a 92nd-minute Tom Rogic equaliser to draw 2-2 at Livingston.
Lennon lauded the endeavours of his men in extending their Premiership advantage to 13 points over a Rangers side last night beaten at home to Hamilton, declaring that, to a man, they were “brilliant”. “It is a privilege for me to manage this team,” he said.
The Celtic manager had no truck with any suggestion that his team had struggled against opponents that took a 46th lead through Scott Robinson after Jon Guthrie had cancelled out a Callum McGregor opener, focusing on the last half hour “battering” his team dished out in search of response.
“I am delighted with the performance,” he said of a draw at the only Scottish ground outside of Celtic Park where they have previously lost this season. “I thought we deserved all three points. I was disappointed with the manner of their goals. Their first could have been a foul on Fraser [Forster], the second was poor from our point of view - but the rest of the game we were magnificent. Against a difficult opponent on a difficult pitch we were absolutely outstanding and I had total belief we could get an equaliser and Tom came up with the goods.
“Livingston were hanging on and we broke them and we got the very least that we deserved. We dominated for long, long period and I’m sitting here disappointed at the first points we have dropped in 2020.”
Lennon shutdown any suggestion of the title race being over courtesy of the huge lead held by his team with only nine Premiership games remaining.
“I’m not talking about that. I’m taking it game by game and we have St Mirren on Saturday,” he said. “But you can’t be giving away sloppy goals. You don’t want to be chasing games. We set high standards for us and that’s the first points we’ve dropped in 2020 but in the context of the evening I suppose [it was good]. It was always going to be a tough fixture but the way we played pleased me more than anything. We were brilliant, we were relentless. That’s why I am disappointed we did not win.
“I don’t think Livingston offered anything other than long throws and the odd breakaway. We were very entertaining and very good and I’m pleased to get a point.”
Opposite number Gary Holt refused to see the loss of an injury-time eqaliser as ruining a valiant display by his team. “I’m buzzing,” the Livingston manager said. “To a man, they were excellent and I couldn't have asked for more from them. They are disappointed, but I told them to lift their heads up because we are really proud of them. It is a great point. We could have won the game, but at the same time, we could have lost it.”