NEIL LENNON celebrated five successive Premier League triumphs when James Forrest knocked in the only goal of the game against Hamilton Accies yesterday.
It was the first time the champions had achieved the feat of five in a row in nine years – when the Irishman was in charge first time around.
The Hoops did enough to notch up the victory that keeps them three points ahead of Rangers, 3-1 victors over 10-man Livingston at Ibrox, and maintains their steady progress since the 7-0 hammering of St Johnstone on the opening day of the Premiership.
There was a scare when Christopher Jullien was decked after an accidental clash of heads with Accies’ substitute Marios Ogkmpoe late in the second-half and the defender was given treatment for almost four minutes before being allowed to resume.
THAT’S MY BHOY…Neil Lennon congratulates Ryan Christie as he comes off in stoppage time to be replaced by Jonny Hayes.
The £7million Frenchman looked a little groggy, but Lennon played down the incident afterwards when he was asked about the extent of his central defender’s injury.
“He’s fine,” replied the Irishman. “I’ve just spoken to him. He thought I was Boris Becker, right enough – but he’s alright!”
Reflecting on the latest success, Lennon, speaking to the Sunday Mail, said: “It’s three points, a very good performance in difficult conditions and five out of five, which we haven’t done in a long time at the start of a campaign.
“It’s also our third clean sheet in five, as well. We’re playing very, very well. The only tinge of regret is that we didn’t score more.
“But James hit the bar in the second-half and with the pitch drying up, it slowed us down.
“Credit to Hamilton, they set their stall out to be hard to beat, so it wasn’t much of a spectacle.
“It takes two teams to make a game and we made all the running.
“There was no anxiety from us at all and I’m thrilled.
“It’s very difficult to win five out of five – because we haven’t done it for nearly a decade.
“So, that’s a brilliant start to the season from us and we’re putting pressure on everyone else already.”
Lennon also took the opportunity to bring on Tom Rogic, missing since the Scottish Cup Final win over Hearts in May, as a second-half substitute for new Bhoy Mo Elyounoussi, who was obviously tiring following a rare start.
He added towering centre-back Jullien would be fit to face his French countrymen Rennes in the opening game of the Europa League group stage on Thursday night.
BRIAN RICE, the defeated Accies manager, told the Evening Times: “I could say I was disappointed not to take anything from it, but we took lots from it.
“My biggest concern was not having enough belief to go toe-to-toe with Celtic and I saw that we had that to a man.
“To lose an early goal to Celtic was criminal and suicidal, but the response I got was immense. I told them it was easy to capitulate and fall apart, but we didn’t do that.
“We stuck by one another, we kept to our shape and we kept to the game plan – keep in the game as long as can, frustrate Celtic and I’ll freshen it up early in the second-half and we’ll have a bit more of a go.
“We did that and I don’t think anyone could say we didn’t try and get the goal back.”
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