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AWARD-WINNER LENNON HAILS PLAYERS

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NEIL LENNON picked up the Premiership Manager of the Month award yesterday – and gave the credit to his Celtic players.

The Hoops gaffer was handed the personal accolade only 48 hours after the champions’ storming 2-0 triumph over Rangers at Ibrox.

Lennon watched his team make a whirlwind start to the game when they pinned Steven Gerrard’s side in their own half immediately from the kick-off.

Odsonne Edouard fired the ball straight out of play deep in Gers territory with the first kick of the Glasgow derby. It surrendered possession, but made certain the home side were on the defensive in the early moments of the encounter.

It turned out to be an intriguing tactic, but the Parkhead chief admitted it had nothing to do with him and believed skipper Scott Brown might have been the mastermind behind the novel idea.

Lennon, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “That came from the players, but before we went out there we did re-emphasise that the last time we were at Ibrox we didn’t get out of our own half and we were a goal down after two minutes.

“We’re a front-foot team, so let’s play on the front foot. They went out and executed that perfectly.

“We’d talked about it previously, but I’m assuming it was Brownie who said ‘Right, let’s do this!’

“It’s all right doing it, but you have to back it up. Our players did that.”

Lennon, who saw his team win their fourth successive league outing to preserve their 100 per cent record with goals from Edouard and substitute Jonny Hayes, added: “Rangers have improved and they’ve had some good results.

“But what everyone was overlooking was the way we were playing and the results we were having.

“I did make the point Friday and Saturday that I couldn’t understand why we were underdogs. If you looked at the league form, we’d won all the games, we’d scored goals and were playing well.

“We came from Thursday with an outstanding performance and result against AIK in Stockholm.

“Yet we were an afterthought going into the game and that was motivation for me and the players. Not that we needed any extra motivation. But it was important to put in a strong performance.

“Not only a football performance, but a mentally strong performance and they did that in spades.”

Asked if he thought his managerial talents are underestimated, Lennon replied: “Possibly. But I can’t control that. I don’t think I’m the greatest thing since sliced bread. I think I’m all right.

“I know how to win games, get results.”

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Editor

Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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