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Festive cheer for Lennon
Published : 24 Dec 2011 20:16:59
Neil Lennon was handed a perfect Christmas present after Georgios Samaras' double in the 2-1 win against Kilmarnock took Celtic to within a point of Clydesdale Bank Premier League leaders Rangers ahead of Wednesday night's Old Firm game at Parkhead.
The Greece striker headed the home side into the lead in first-half added time and notched his second with a fine drive seven minutes after the break as the Hoops extended their winning run in the SPL to eight games.
Celtic boss Lennon said: "The day couldn't have gone better for us. A good performance, a good three points and we have closed the gap right up."
He added: "But there is a lot of football to go and regardless of who were playing on Wednesday that would be the most important game.
"Samaras didn't start the game great but got better as the game went on. The first goal pleased me the most, I have been looking for him to score more headers because he has that good physical attribute in the air and the second goal was good finishing.
"And we should have won the game comfortably.
"I thought we were in complete control in the second-half without being brilliant, although Ki Sung-yueng missed a couple of chances that would have put the game out of sight."
Killie boss Kenny Shiels was aggrieved that referee George Salmond had played over the added time at the end of the first-half, even though the one minute that was shown on the board was a minimum requirement.
He said: The duration of the first half was 46 minutes and something unique happened - they scored in the 47th minute. It was seven seconds away from 47 minutes and the players felt hard done by. The referee got it wrong and that was disappointing.
"It can happen to anyone but if we had gone in level at the interval it could have been a different outcome. It was hard for the lads to take. Our centre half slipped and it went to 2-0 and the big disappointment for me was that there was a resignation, a 'give-up' attitude and I didn't like that."