DELIGHTED Neil Lennon hailed the leadership qualities of skipper Scott Brown after Celtic’s pulverising 4-0 victory over St Mirren in Paisley last night.
The Hoops midfielder, who will celebrate his 36th birthday in June, has come in for criticism this season as the champions have struggled to maintain the phenomenal form that saw them rack up nine successive titles.
The bid for the tenth crown on the trot has been hit by a blunder-strewn campaign that has seen them shed points at an alarming rate since the second Premiership game of the campaign when they drew 1-1 with Kilmarnock at Rugby Park.
Brown stood up to be counted against Jim Goodwin’s side who won at Parkhead only 12 days ago for their first league triumph in the east of Glasgow in 31 years.
The veteran former Scotland captain was perpetual motion as he raced around the pitch and finished as strongly as he started in an outstanding 90 minutes.
Lennon, speaking to Celtic TV, said: “Scott Brown was superb in the second-half and that got everyone else going.
“There was good variation in our play and we had good control after the interval.
ON THE DECK…Scott Brown challenges St Mirren striker Jon Obika.
IN THE AIR…Scott Brown heads clear from Marcus Fraser.
“Going forward, we looked very, very good and then Ryan Christie came on. He looked a different player – revitalised and he scored a beautiful goal and played very well. David Turnbull got his goal – I got a great reaction from him at half-time – and the midfield was very strong.
“We may have to make changes for the weekend to freshen things up, but I thought we played well for long periods of the game against Motherwell at the weekend and they carried that on.
“It’s great to see players hitting the form we know they’re capable of. It’s not easy coming here and winning by that amount of goals, so it’s a good night for us.”
Tom Rogic opened the scoring in the first-half – “an outstanding goal from an outstanding player on the night,” said Lennon – while Odsonne Edouard thrashed in an unstoppable penalty-kick, Ryan Christie and David Turnbull in a blistering grand finale.
The only negative was the injury to Stephen Welsh in the 68th minute following a late challenge that earned a booking for Saints frontman Jon Obika.
The 21-year-old central defender was stretchered off and will be assessed before Lennon puts his squad together for Sunday’s noon kick-off against St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.