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PREMIERSHIP REWIND: LENNON: ‘ABSOLUTELY OUTSTANDING’ CELTIC, ALESSIO: ‘TWO MISTAKES AND EDOUARD SCORED TWO GOALS’

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NEIL LENNON hailed some of his team’s play as “absolutely outstanding” as they came back from a goal behind to crush Kilmarnock 3-1 at Parkhead yesterday.

Eamonn Brophy stunned the home support when he scored in a breakaway that caught Christopher Jullien and Kristoffer Ajer off guard and his drive took a deflection as it swept high over the helpless Fraser Forster.

But James Forrest, who had an outstanding 90 minutes and was unfortunate not to score a hat-trick, set up the equaliser with a fine cross from the left wing for Odsonne Edouard to power in the equaliser just before the interval.

The Frenchman did it again shortly after the turnaround following some neat play by Austrian right-back Moritz Bauer, making his first Hoops start, and Ryan Christie claimed his 10th goal of the campaign after keeper Laurentiu Branescu had pushed away a close-range header from Forrest, who also hit the woodwork twice.

A delighted Lennon, speaking to STV, said: “That was an absolutely superb performance. The scoreline flattered Kilmarnock at half-time.

“They had one real chance, if you even want to call it an attack, and a great goal from Brophy. There was a bit of luck with the deflection.

HAPPY BHOYS…Celtic celebrate the equalising goal from Odsonne Edouard.

“Before that, we had peppered Kilmarnock’s goal and they are a good side. We hit the post and worked the goalkeeper on a number of occasions. We thoroughly merited the equaliser when it came.

“We just asked for more of the same in the second half. Some of the play for 15 to 20 minutes after half-time was absolutely outstanding.”

The champions’ boss revealed Christopher Jullien had come off with a hamstring problem, while on-loan Stoke City defender Bauer had twisted his ankle.

Lennon received the first yellow card as a manager under the new rule change and he added: “It’s like a warning to calm down. It’s fine. I’ve no issue with that at all.

“I was a bit disappointed, but I’m not going to criticise the referee for that.

“I was not happy with the yellow card, because I just reacted the same way any other manager would have. But, overall, I thought the referee was fine.”

Lennon clearly did not agree with match official Greg Aitken’s decision to award the visitors a late penalty-kick and fourth official Bobby Madden alerted the referee to the Irishman’s comments which brought the booking.

Forster made a fine diving save to his right to push away Alan Power’s spot-kick.

ANGELO ALESSIO, the defeated Rugby Park gaffer, said: “We were 1-0 on the counter-attack, then it was a shame because we lost a goal at the end of the first-half.

“The second-half was very difficult for us, because Celtic pushed very high. We made two mistakes and Edouard scored two goals.

“It is much better to go into the changing room at 1-0. We can put pressure on Celtic, but this is a tough game. They have a lot of players who can decide the game.”

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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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