CELTIC’S main men, Neil Lennon and Scott Brown, were in tandem as they praised the team following the 2-0 Scottish Cup semi-final victory over Aberdeen at Hampden yesterday.

Ryan Christie, with a spectacular 25-yard drive, and Mohamed Elyounoussi, with a close-range drive into the roof of the net, scored the goals that set up a December 20 silverware shoot-out with Hearts at the national stadium.

The Hoops go into the encounter against the Tynecastle side, 2-1 extra-time victors over Hibs on Saturday, where they could clinch the unprecedented quadruple treble with their TWELFTH successive domestic honour.

A delighted Lennon, speaking to Sky Sports News, said: “It is fantastic to be in another Cup Final and follow on from a great performance in France.

“It was a really heavy pitch, but I thought we were very comfortable and were outstanding in the first-half. As expected, the players tired in the second-half and we had to change the shape and change the personnel, but we saw the game out comfortably.

“I’m sure there was a lot of expectation and pressure on the players, but they didn’t show any of it and handled the occasion very well.

“We’ve had a heavy volume of games and they’ve come through it on the other side now.”

Skipper Brown, who put in another solid 90-minute performance, singled out Christie was special mention following his superb opening goal in the 18th minute.

The 35-year-old captain added: “He’s a fantastic player and he’s done brilliantly for us since he came back in.

“He’s a great lad, too. He works extremely hard and he’s as fit as a fiddle. Ryan just goes up and down that line non-stop, putting people under pressure.

“He’s also got that quality when he’s on the ball.

“Everyone knows he’s a great finisher. He’s always looking to come in from that right-hand side and putting the ball in the far corner is something he does time and time again. That’s what he gets paid for, but he’s fantastic at it.

“He keeps working on it and that’s what brings him the success he deserves.”

Celtic ended a four-match winless run at a rain-lashed national stadium and came close to an early goal when a double salvo from Odsonne Edouard was repelled by keeper Joe Lewis.

However, the Dons No.1 had no chance as Christie broke the deadlock with a curling effort high into his top right-hand corner and he had no chance five minutes later when Elyounoussi finished off a delightful left-wing lob from Tom Rogic.

The grand finale against Hearts will be a repeat of the May 25 showdown last year where two goals from Odsonne Edouard gave the Parkhead side a 2-1 triumph after Ryan Edwards had opened the scoring.

Celtic have now won 35 consecutive domestic Cup-ties in which they have scored an average of almost three goals a game.


About Author


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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