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  • Neil Lennon: This is an incredible group of Celtic players

    Neil Lennon: This is an incredible group of Celtic players

    By: Paul Cuddihy on 08 Dec, 2019 18:45

  • NEIL Lennon paid tribute to his players after they delivered a performance full of character and determination to win the Betfred Cup final.

    That victory came courtesy of Christopher Jullien’s goal on the hour mark, and despite going down to 10 men just five minutes later after Jeremie Frimpong was red-carded, Celtic dug in and delivered a fourth consecutive success in the competition and an incredible 10th domestic trophy win in a row.

    Speaking after the 1-0 victory over Rangers at a rain-soaked Hampden, the Celtic manager paid tribute to what he called ‘an incredible group of players.’

    “I’m thrilled and really proud,” Neil Lennon said. “We had to dig in today. I don’t think we played well in the first-half, and we had to rely on Fraser at times to make some world-class saves. We showed great resilience and a great mentality to get the goal. Then there was a red card and we had to dig in again.

    “Mikey had a great chance to make it 2-0, but I’m sure Rangers will say they had some great chances in the game, which they did.

    “So come through it and to win 10 major trophies is just unbelievable, as was the character and the pride and the resilience which they had to show today.

    “I don’t know who you would compare this with, either with other teams around the world or in Scottish football, but it is incredible. It’s easy to give it up or think it’s not our day today, but they just won’t.

    “That’s 31 cup-ties now undefeated, over a period of three and a bit years. It’s amazing, and they’ve faced all challenges. We had a stiff one today. We’ve had them against Aberdeen, and against Hearts last season, but they keep finding ways to win and it’s fantastic football ability, fantastic athleticism, but also fantastic mental strength as well.”

    Celtic won the trophy 19 years to the day that Neil Lennon signed for the club as a player, and today’s League Cup success sees the Irishman join Billy McNeill as the only men to have won all three domestic trophies as Celtic player and manager.

    “I didn’t want to talk about it before, but it means the world to me,” the Irishman said. “The League Cup was a bit of a monkey on my back. It owed me one! So it’s nice to tick that box as a manager, and now we march on.

    “I’m very proud, but it’s the players who do it. I’ve got a great backroom staff as well and this is a wonderful group of players. I’m very lucky to work with them, I enjoy working with them and they’re coming up to all the challenges that are asked of them.”

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