Lennon salutes Samaras

05 February 2012 07:16

Neil Lennon praised Georgios Samaras after the Celtic striker vindicated his selection with the first goal and a fine performance in the Hoops' 2-0 William Hill Scottish Cup fifth-round win over Inverness at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium.

Asked about bringing Samaras back into the side, the Celtic boss said: "I thought his all-round game was brilliant and I thought he was a real thorn in the side of Inverness, with his height and running power.

"I have been crying out for him to get one of those goals and he really lashed it into the top corner. He is capable of doing that so I am very pleased with him today."

Anthony Stokes scored twice in last week's 3-1 Scottish Communities League Cup semi-final win over Falkirk at Hampden, but had to settle for a place on the bench, with the Greece international one of four changes to the Parkhead side.

Samaras proved an able replacement, firing high past Jonny Tuffey in the 33rd minute to give the holders the interval lead which they never looked like surrendering.

In the 67th minute, after Caley defender David Proctor had conceded a penalty for a foul on Gary Hooper, Parkhead skipper Brown slotted home the spot-kick to seal the win and take the holders into Monday's draw at Hampden.

Lennon added: "I am delighted to be in the quarter-finals. I thought we were fantastic from start to finish and could have been more comfortable.

"The team as a whole were brilliant.

"Their attitude was the most pleasing aspect of the day. Kelvin Wilson came in and I thought he started the game brilliantly, he looked after Gregory Tade very well today.

"And the rest of the team were on the front foot from the first whistle."

Source: PA