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Lennon hails exceptional Celtic

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06 Jan 2014 01:01:53

Lennon hails exceptional Celtic

Celtic manager Neil Lennon labelled his side's 4-0 victory away to St Mirren on Sunday as an exceptional team performance.

The Hoops blew St Mirren away as they put four past Marian Kello in a 20- minute second-half goal blitz.

The result sealed Celtic's ninth win in a row in the league as they extended their lead to 13 points above second placed Aberdeen at the top of the Scottish Premiership.

In a well-deserved victory Celtic racked up their seventh straight league shutout with St Mirren failing to manage a shot on target.

Lennon had described his side's recent performances as "flat" following a run of three consecutive 1-0 victories but was delighted with Sunday's show.

"It was an exceptional team performance today from start to finish," the Celtic manager said.

"We felt that we were tiring a little bit but there was a freshness about us today. I think the extra day rest from the game on Wednesday did them the world of good.

"It was pleasing to rack up the goals at one end and keep another clean sheet which is just fantastic consistency from the team.

"I can't ask any more of them really. They're doing the club really proud at the minute. I had a chat with the players in the last couple of days.

"We went over a video of the Partick Thistle game and I think the players took on board what we were asking of them.

"Adam Matthews and James Forrest looked back to their best, Stokes played very well and Commons got his two goals."

In a tight first half Celtic twice came close to opening the scoring with both Charlie Mulgrew and Kris Commons firing strikes off the post.

However, the Celtic manager insisted he never had any doubts that a goal would come eventually.

"We felt at half time if we got one goal we would go on to dominate the game and that's exactly how it panned out. It was a magnificent team performance," Lennon said.

"You have to have faith in the players. I thought we could have kept the ball when we were in the final third a little bit better at times but we did that a lot better in the second half.

"We started to stretch them and they found it very difficult to live with us after that."

Mulgrew started the scoring at New St Mirren Park when he coolly finished in the box after great work from Adam Matthews in the 53rd minute.

Anthony Stokes scored his 100th career goal with a superb 58th minute strike before Commons added his 50th goal for Celtic with a 70th minute header.

The Scottish midfielder fired in his 16th of the season two minutes later to extend Celtic's undefeated start to the season to 20 games going into a two-week winter break, something Lennon insists his players richly deserve.

"Some of our players now have played over 30 games and they need some rest and to recharge the batteries," the Celtic boss added.

"The break has come at a very good time for us and those players. It will be important; a change in climate is always good at this time of the season.

"We've had a real heavy schedule from the middle of July until now so that speaks volumes for our consistency and the way the team has played. But the time off will refresh and recharge the batteries again."


AFP

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