‘I See Him Taking On The Role Of Captain’, Neil Lennon

Neil Lennon was impressed with his side’s reaction to going behind today. Speaking to Celtic TV after his team defeated Kilmarnock 3-1, the Celtic manager said:

“The performance and reaction to going a goal down pleased me most. Our reaction was excellent and we all know how difficult a team like Kilmarnock can be to break down. We did that very well and in the second half we were outstanding. It was a brilliant performance and a really good day for us.”

When asked about overcoming that early deficit, Lennon explained: “You need patience at times. They block the centre off, they have experienced players who do that very well and they have good strikers who are a handful. We had to be mindful of that when we were attacking and our concentration at the back had to be good. In the second half, our players came out were simply irresistible at times.

I’m delighted with them. The quality and desire to get the ball back at times was excellent. I think Kilmarnock are a good side and are a difficult nut to crack but we did that very well today. There was a sense of injustice at losing the goal but a real controlled aggression after that.”

It wasn’t just the reaction to going behind which impressed the Irishman though. Indeed, he was full of praise for his players in many other aspects of their play: “This team are capable of creating good chances. The have good belief in themselves and there was a long way to go in the half when they conceded. I was absolutely thrilled to come in at 2-1 up after the last half hour of that first half.”

Ever-present skipper, Scott Brown, suffered a rare injury in midweek and thus missed out today. Callum McGregor was handed the armband and played in a slightly more defensive midfield position, roles in which he excelled as the 26 year-old put in a man of the match performance. Lennon felt that his stand-in captain was on a different level to anyone else on the park, but was guarded against playing him in a holding role on a regular basis:

“I see him (McGregor) taking on the role of captain, but in that position in midfield? Maybe when he’s the other side of 30,” the Celtic boss said. “He has a lot to offer higher up the pitch. You can see how good a player he is and that’s an understatement. At this level he’s a different class. He’d certainly be a contender for player of the year with the way he’s playing. I thought his performance today was immaculate.”

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About Author

Hailing from an Irish background, I grew up in Bournemouth with the good fortune to begin watching Celtic during the Martin O'Neill era. Still living on the south coast, I have a season ticket at Paradise and also travel to European away matches when possible. I have written four Celtic books since the age of 19: Our Stories & Our Songs: The Celtic Support, Take Me To Your Paradise: A History Of Celtic-Related Incidents & Events, Walfrid & The Bould Bhoys: Celtic's Founding Fathers, First Season & Early Stars, and The Holy Grounds of Glasgow Celtic: A Guide To Celtic Landmarks & Sites Of Interest. These were/are sold in Waterstones and official Celtic FC stores, and are available on Amazon.

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