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The Parkhead manager praised the form of young winger James Forrest as his side prepare to lift the SPL title and get ready for a Scottish Cup final with Hibernian

Celtic manager Neil Lennon doesn’t believe that a Scottish Cup final defeat against Hibernian will mean his side’s season has been a failure.

The SPL leaders secured their place against the Edinburgh side with a 4-3 extra time victory over Dundee United in the semi-final at Hampden Park.

And despite now being one step closer to a league and cup double, Lennon claims that if the SPL title is the only silverware that arrives in the east end of Glasgow then this season will still be successful.

“I think it would be pretty special to do that, but if we don’t then it’s still been a fantastic season,” he told reporters.

"We’re going to win the league, we’ve made a semi-final, a final, the last 16 in Europe with a squad that is relevantly young and didn’t cost a lot of money compared to previous teams that have been built here.”

On the extra time victory, Lennon spoke of his players, saying: “They’ve performed heroically, some of them are dead on their feet at the minute. Mentally and physically it’s been really tough on some of them, but I’m delighted for the club and the supporters, and more importantly I’m delighted for the players.

“The way we finished the game, we finished it really strongly, we missed simple chances and I’m thinking that Dundee United are wavering, which is understandable. We were wavering as well, but I just felt we had a little more strength in the team.”

Lennon had special praise for James Forrest, who played his first game in over a month for the Hoops. “I wanted to keep James under wraps, I knew he was fit and I wanted to keep him as a surprise package for Dundee United and that turned out to be the case,” he revealed.

“For me he’s a brilliant player who has just been ravaged with injures, it’s great to have him fit, that’s his first game since he came on against Juventus and his form has been magnificent when he’s played, his ball for the fourth goal was sensational, he could have had a couple goals himself.”

There was a sour note for the former Celtic skipper as he will be without the services of midfielder Victor Wanyama for the final due to suspension.

“Wanyama’s been sensational this season, so it’ll be a real shame for the kid, I think he knew even when we scored the fourth goal, that it was resonating with him and it’s a blow for us because he’s a very important performer,” he continued.

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