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Belief is the key
Published : 16 Aug 2010 06:52:16
Sometimes players do not believe they can deliver and that is when the managerial skill of man management comes to the fore Celtic midfielder Joe Ledley's second half display against Inverness Caledonian Thistle was down to the words of encouragement provided by manager Neil Lennon. Lennon cut a figure of frustration for much of the first half as Inverness took control of the early stages. Shaun Maloney did hit the post with the best chance of the first 45 minutes, but Lukasz Zaluska made a point-blank save from Adam Rooney in one of several scares for the visitors. However, Lennon and his players retained belief in themselves and Paddy McCourt scored a superb solo goal in the 56th minute, beating three men and firing into the corner from 18 yards. Unfortunately, the post goal celebrations forced his go be substituted due to whiplash sustained when Shaun Maloney ran in to congratulate the Irishman. His replacement, James Forrest, hit the bar with one of two excellent long-range efforts and also missed a sitter, while Ryan Esson produced impressive saves from Maloney, Ledley and Georgios Samaras. Ledley said: "He (Lennon) didn't criticise us at half-time. We knew we had talent here and we believe in ourselves. You just need a bit of luck as well and I think in the second half we totally dominated and it could have been more than five. It was a great feeling and hopefully we can get more next time. Credit to Inverness, they did well in the first half. It took us a while to get going but the result could have been so much more. We're confident and looking forward to Thursday. There were a lot of positives out of the game and I think the fans were happy as well." Lennon was delighted with his much-maligned back four of Cha Du-ri, Glenn Loovens, Jos Hooiveld and Charlie Mulgrew after Celtic kept their first clean sheet since the summer break. Left-back Mulgrew had a difficult opening when Jonny Hayes got past him several times and delivered some dangerous crosses, but Celtic never looked like conceding in the second period. Lennon said: "I thought Charlie had a very good game. He has taken a bit of stick but he knows the culture and the game here and I thought he was excellent against probably their most dangerous player. The two centre-halves were very good and Cha, in the second half defensively he was fine and going forward he was very powerful."