Neil Lennon saw his side come out winners in a 4-3 thriller against Dundee United at the weekend, and will hope they continue their form with a potential title party coming up
By Martin Macdonald
|LENNON PRAISES ADVERT FOR SCOTTISH GAME
Celtic manager Neil Lennon has praised the level of football that was on show in his side's exciting 4-3 extra time win over Dundee United on Sunday, April 14.
Both sides exchanged leads in the 90 minutes, but the game was eventually decided when substitute Anthony Stokes came off the bench to bullet a header home with 104 minutes on the clock, and the Celtic boss has expressed his delight at reaching the final, as well as the quality of play that was displayed.
"It was brilliant and both teams covered themselves in glory," said Lennon. "It's great to talk about the football. Everyone wants to talk about all the other problems but we don't create them. There's a lot of good people who want to do things right for the game."
The relegation of Rangers has saw the Scottish game come under criticism for its supposed lack of quality this season, but the Irish boss was quick to defend the quality of the players on show, and its exciting nature.
"People say the quality of football isn't great," he told journalists after the Dundee United match. "I go down the road and watch English games and there's far better players playing here, trust me."
Lennon also reserved praise for young Celt, James Forrest, who played a vital role in the match and provided the assist for Stokes' winning header.
"I've got a player in James Forrest who could go on to be one of the Scottish greats," said the Hoops boss. "He was unbelievable today, considering he hadn't kicked a ball for a month."
Former Celtic player Lennon also looked over the season as a whole, and stressed that, with the Scottish Premier League basically in the bag, and a final to look forward to, he was running out of superlatives for his team.
"I'm really proud of this group of players," said the Irishman. "They've had a long hard season, been at the sharp end of everything and they deserve to be in the cup final. That's the least they deserve out of the season.
"We're hopefully going to get over the line in the title, we've had a brilliant run in Europe and now we're in another cup final. I have no criticism of the team, nothing but praise and glory for them."
|IN THEIR OWN HANDS
This weekend presents Celtic's first opportunity to collect the Scottish Premier League title by their own hand.
The Hoops looked poised to collect the trophy in the last round of SPL fixtures as they comfortably dispatched of Hibs with a 3-0 victory, but a late Motherwell goal against St Mirren postponed the celebrations for another match.
Indeed, the Glasgow giants could be crowned champions before they even kick a ball on Sunday against Inverness; if Motherwell fail to pick up all three points on Friday versus Dundee United.
But club captain, Scott Brown, has insisted that he and his team-mates hope the Steelmen collect the win against Jackie McNamara's men, so that Celtic can be crowned champions with a flourishing display at the weekend.
"I don't know why their game is on Friday night and we are on the Sunday but never mind," Brown said. "It will be a little disappointing if they go and get beat by the time Sunday comes, so here's hoping Motherwell can do it and we can win on Sunday."
Gary Hooper also shares the notion of his captain. The Englishman has been in lethal form this season and leads the club's scoring charts with 25 goals in 46 appearances, and is looking forward to claiming his second league title on the bounce.
"It's another title and would mean a lot to us," said Hooper. "Getting my first SPL winner's medal was really nice but doing it two years in a row would be big.
"We need to step our performances up, like we did when we won the league against Kilmarnock and I don´t see why we can´t do it against Inverness."
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