Proud Neil Lennon lauds Celtic heroes after Scottish Cup semi-final

15 April 2013 08:53

Neil Lennon hailed his players as heroes after Anthony Stokes' dramatic extra-time winner against Dundee United secured a 4-3 victory which booked Celtic's place in the William Hill Scottish Cup final and the chance of the double.

Celtic midfielder Kris Commons and United skipper Jon Daly grabbed doubles with goals from Tannadice winger Gary Mackay-Steven and Victor Wanyama ensuring 30 added minutes of a thrilling encounter. However, in the 104th minute, substitute Stokes headed in a James Forrest cross to ensure the Hoops will face Hibernian in the final.

Lennon, whose side had lost in their last three Hampden appearances, said: "I am so proud for the players. They have had a monumental season up until now. This was pivotal for us, otherwise the season might have petered out so I am so happy."

He continued: "They are one point away from winning the title, we have had a great European campaign, we fell short in the Scottish Communities League Cup semi-final and we are in a cup final. They have performed heroically, some of them are dead in their feet at the minute.

"We are delighted for the club and the supporters but more importantly I am delighted for the players. It is good to get over the line for the first time in a while.

"We are the only team who can win the double and it would be pretty special for the players to do that but if we don't then it will still be a fantastic season."

United boss Jackie McNamara claimed Commons' second goal might have been chalked off for the use of his arm and thought his side might have had a penalty when Gary Mackay-Steven clashed with Wanyama.

The former Celtic defender said: "I thought Gary got his body in the right position and their second goal was a bit dubious, it hit Commons on the hand although he maybe didn't know much about it, but again, there is no point in crying about it.

"I thought the players were exceptional, every one of them.

"They gave everything they had and caused Celtic problems."

Source: PA