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The rebuilding has started
Published : 15 Apr 2010 06:23:33
Celtic knew the fans would be voting with the feet after Saturday's result. Neil Lennon hopes those fans who were posted missing on Tuesday night will be encouraged back to Parkhead following the 2-1 win over Motherwell. Lots of fans are still hurting from the Scottish Cup exit at the penultimate stage and there a lot less fans in evidence than the official attendance announced as 27,750. Those that were there were generally behind the team during a tricky game against a positive Motherwell side. A small band of fans sang for the whole 90 minutes as Josh Thompson's second-half double cancelled out the opening goal from Mark Reynolds. Lennon was accustomed to playing in front of 60,000 crowds when he captained Celtic but he was not surprised by the poor turnout. Lennon said: "It wasn't odd, it's what I expected. I was grateful for the people who did turn up, I was grateful for the people who sang throughout the game and got behind the team even through the difficult periods. I totally understand, but hopefully a few of them will come back now and support the team on Saturday. We have to finish second and we have to try to beat Rangers, and then we'll salvage a little something from this season." Lennon, whose side welcome on off-form Hibs at the weekend, went on: "Obviously we are still hurting after Saturday but that's the way to respond. It wasn't easy, Motherwell are a good side, a good attacking threat, but so are we. I thought (Aiden) McGeady in the second half was tremendous. I asked for a big performance in the second half. We didn't do enough in the final third in the first half, although the application and attitude and work-rate was a lot, lot better than Saturday. But he and (Diomansy) Kamara lit the place up." Andreas Hinkel and Georgios Samaras were dropped from the squad following the Hampden humiliation but Lennon claims he has not closed the door on the pair. He said: "They are still part of the squad. I had to pick a team to win the game. It could have been anybody. Don't forget you have three under-21s to pick as well so sometimes you have international players in the stand."