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  • Manager: We needed to show more desire in derby clash

    Manager: We needed to show more desire in derby clash

    By: Tony Connelly on 12 May, 2019 15:19

  • NEIL Lennon admitted that Celtic needed to have shown more hunger in the game against Rangers, but added that the disappointment of the derby defeat must not take away from their focus over the next two weeks as the Scottish Cup final draws closer.

    Celtic suffered their first defeat under Neil Lennon this season in the form of a 2-0 loss at Ibrox. The champions found themselves trailing after just two minutes when the home side took the lead. The disappointment was further compounded in the second half when Steven Gerrard’s team doubled their lead.

    Speaking after the game, the Celtic manager said: "The hungrier team won today and I think that’s the biggest criticism I can lay at the players’ feet. I had to tell the players, whether or not I’m here next season, that performance is just not good enough for a derby.

    “In the main, since January the players have been fantastic but there have been moments in games where I’ve not been happy enough. I’ve touched on it before with the style of play. Against better opposition you get done if you keep making the same sloppy mistakes.

    “Two minutes into the game we were thinking, okay settle but we never really settled. As an attacking unit we weren’t very good today at all. We lacked a lot of quality and desire.

    “We were standing on the outside looking in and we were just sort of pedestrian all day. We lack physicality and real desire which you require in games of this magnitude. You can’t dress it up. It’s a poor performance from us.”

    Celtic have two games remaining in the season, both of which are against Hearts. The first is at home next weekend against Hearts, when Celtic will be presented with the Premiership trophy. The second is the Scottish Cup final where a win would see the Hoops clinched a Treble Treble.

    Neil Lennon said he expected some of his injured players to return for that game and highlighted the importance of the team regaining its focus following the disappointment of the derby defeat.

    “James Forrest has a calf strain,” he said. “He had a scan on Tuesday so he should be okay for the final. With Kieran it’s a case of managing him through. He wouldn’t have been fit today to play so I didn’t want to take any chances with that either.

    “We have a cup final to look forward to. Obviously we’re disappointed with the performance today but we know what’s at stake in the next couple of weeks for us. It’s very important that we don’t let anything get in the way of that.”

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