Celtic manager Neil Lennon conceded that “subconcious” thoughts drifting towards Sunday’s League Cup final almost cost his team on an ultimately productive night
An injury-time Scott Brown winner secured a 2-1 victory over Hamilton Accies, allowing the Scottish champions to establish a two-point advantage over a Rangers side they face at Hampden this weekend.
An evening that looked like it would halt Celtic’s momentum when Marios Ogkmpoe netted a 90th-minute equaliser for the visitors flipped with Brown’s clincher, but Lennon didn’t pretend that the experience was one to savour.
Even though the result coupled with Rangers throwing away a two-goal lead at Pittodrie made for a “a huge psychological lift” that the Celtic boss said will allow his side to “be vibrant and strong going into the final”.
“I didn't enjoy it,” he saw of the tumultuous added time.
"It's the psychology of sport - people are asking about the cup final and subconsciously that was playing on their minds.
"We were flat and we were tired, mentally, at the end. Hamilton equalised and then we came to life again.
"We deserved to win but you could just feel even before the game that it would be difficult.
"However, I am delighted we won, I am thrilled for the players and I understand why it was a bit flat. It's a big win but is it pivotal?
"Not really. All wins are important. We are two points ahead but don't listen to the noise. It's a huge goal. We've won 11 games in a row and we are two points clear.
"But you will see a different team on Sunday - physically and mentally. Big game players come up in big moments.”