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Neil Lennon was full of superlatives for his side after seeing them score two late goals to earn all three points against Aberdeen, and the squad head off for international duty

DIGEST
By Martin Macdonald

LENNON PROUD OF COMEBACK KINGS

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has heaped praise upon his players after they came from behind in dramatic fashion to claim all three points against Aberdeen on Saturday afternoon.

The visitors were 3-2 up with just three minutes remaining on the clock, but a scrappy equaliser from Gary Hooper and a superb overhead kick winner from Georgios Samaras saw the Scottish champions come out as victors.

The Irish boss was understandably delighted with the fighting spirit shown by his squad, particularly their reaction to going behind. Speaking to journalists after the match, he said:

"It was absolutely brilliant. People were accusing the players of complacency and not showing enough desire, but I think you saw what it meant to them and the supporters. It was a bit like the good old days.

"You are looking for a reaction, a show of character. What we lacked, even when we were on top in the first half, was quality in the final third. I felt we were wasteful with the ball, didn’t pick the right passes at times and when you do that you always encourage teams on."

Lennon also showered superlatives on Kris Commons and Greek striker Georgios Samaras after the match. The Englishman was at the heart of all things dangerous for the Hoops and the substitute proved to be a match winner with his acrobatic strike in injury time.

"I thought he [Commons] was excellent and our most dangerous player," said the manager. "All good things were likely to come through Kris and did come through him. It was a tremendous performance from him. He sees a pass. He has dynamite in both feet. He was our best player by far.

“We think he [Samaras] is a special player," added Lennon. "We were debating whether to start him and we just felt he would have more of an impact the longer the game went on and thankfully that proved to be the case."

The last-gasp victory propelled the Bhoys 15 points clear of Motherwell in the Scottish Premier Division table, ensuring a commanding lead as teams enter the final stretch of the season.

 

CELTS REPRESENTED ALL OVER THE GLOBE

This week members of Celtic head away to meet up with their respective national teams due to the international break, with 23 players from the Hoops squad taking part in World Cup Qualifiers and friendlies across the globe.

Kris Commons and Charlie Mulgrew will feature for Scotland against Wales on Friday evening, with Celtic team-mate Joe Ledley coming up against his colleagues when The Dragons make the trip to Hampden.

Another trio of Bhoys are set to come up against each other, with Rami Gershon and Beram Kayal's Israel taking on Paddy McCourt and Northern Ireland at Windsor Park. The Irish would go level on points with Eli Guttman's men with a victory on Tuesday.

Further afield from Scotland, Miku and Emilio Izaguirre have travelled to South America to join with Venezuela and Honduras respectively, with the former set to line-up for his nation against Lionel Messi and Argentina. Victor Wanyama will join up with Kenya to face Africa Cup of Nations champions, Nigeria.

January signing, Tom Rogic, will be notching up the most air miles, however, as he travels down under to feature for Australia against Oman.


NEXT MATCH: HOOPS TRAVEL TO PAISLEY

Celtic's next match sees Neil Lennon's men travel to Paisley to take on newly-crowned League Cup champions, St Mirren, in the Scottish Premier League.

The Hoops squad is currently on an international break, but will return to training next week, with the clash against the Buddies taking place on the 31st March.

Danny Lennon's men will certainly be oozing confidence for the visit of the champions, as his side are currently fresh off a dramatic 3-2 League Cup final victory over Hearts at Hampden.

Esmael Goncalves, Steven Thompson, and Conor Newton were all on target to ensure the memorable comeback victory, and St Mirren's first piece of silverware for a quarter of a century.

However, league leaders Celtic will also carry momentum into the match due to their last-gasp 4-3 win over Aberdeen at Celtic Park on Saturday. Lennon's outfit were two goals down with three minutes remaining, but strikes from Gary Hooper and Georgios Samaras stole the points of the hosts.

The confidence is flowing is both squads, so it's shaping up to be an very interesting encounter at St Mirren Park.


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