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‘ANGRY’ AND ‘DISAPPOINTED’: LENNON’S NO-NONSENSE VERDICT

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NEIL LENNON admitted he was “angry” with his players as Celtic carelessly shed two points during their error-strewn performance in the 2-2 draw with Hibs at Easter Road yesterday.

The Hoops boss winced as he witnessed his team present two quickfire goals to his former side with the game scoreless shortly after the turnaround.

Scott Brown crazily barged into Martin Boyle when no danger was apparent and referee Bobby Madden had no option but to point to the penalty spot. Scott Bain made a sprawling save from Kevin Nisbet’s effort, but on-loan Rangers winger Jamie Murphy raced in ahead of hesitant defenders to thump in the rebound.

Shortly afterwards, Murphy was unchallenged as he nodded down a diagonal free-kick from Stevie Mallan to Nisbet who ran away from Nir Bitton before flashing a left-foot drive across Bain and into the net via the foot of the far post.

The champions rallied and substitute Odsonne Edouard, who came for the ineffective Albian Ajeti, thumped in an unstoppable penalty-kick before Uruguayan left-back Diego Laxalt hammered in a stoppage-time leveller.

However, the Parkhead gaffer was in no doubt it was two points dropped and not one gained after the stalemate in the capital.

Lennon, speaking to Celtic TV, said: “I’m angry, I’m disappointed. The two goals we’ve given away were awful. I wouldn’t say they were unprofessional, but it’s slack. They have to look at it themselves and do the dirty bits of the game better – tracking runners and winning headers.

“Scott Bain made a save and none of our boys follow in. It’s basic defending which we’ve talked about. Some of them defensively switched off and we can’t afford to do that, no matter what level we’re playing at. It has to be better.

“It wasn’t a bad performance in terms of attitude. There was good energy in the first-half, but for those 10 or 15 minutes in the second-half, we really let ourselves down.

“Again, I’ve had to change the shape to get us back into the game. The subs did fine, but we were too passive in the final third in the first-half even though we controlled the game.”

Lennon added: “We gave ourselves a lot to do, but we did it and showed a far better mindset in the last 20 minutes. We need to bottle that and carry it forward.

“We had a bit of fire in the belly for the last 25 minutes and we need to start games like that. Winning breeds confidence.

“We dropped two points which is pretty hard to take after a great win at Motherwell, but have to find a level of consistency in our performances.”

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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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