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  • Neil Lennon: Players have been brilliant this year

    Neil Lennon: Players have been brilliant this year

    By: Paul Cuddihy on 25 Mar, 2020 17:45

  • WHEN the Celtic players headed off to Dubai for their winter training camp, one of the things they took with them was the sense of disappointment at the last result of 2019 – a derby defeat at home.

    What they brought back was a determination to reassert their dominance of the Premiership campaign, and they have done so in emphatic style.

    Eleven league wins and just one draw from their 12 league fixtures has seen Neil Lennon’s side establish a commanding 13-point lead at the top of the table, while Scottish Cup wins over Partick Thistle, Clyde and St Johnstone set up a semi-final clash with Aberdeen.

    Not surprisingly, the Celtic manager has been delighted with his side’s form this season, and particularly since the return to action in 2020.

    “What’s pleased me has been the quality of our performances,” Neil Lennon told the official Celtic website. “Even if you look at our last game against St Mirren when we beat them 5-0. To do that at this stage of the season is pretty impressive because we were struggling to score goals this time last year, so the amount of goals we’ve scored and the amount of wins we’ve racked up is impressive.

    “And since the turn of the year, to go unbeaten domestically and only drop two points is fantastic, and we reached the semi-final of the Scottish Cup – we’ve already won the League Cup – so it just shows how well we’ve played.

    “You can’t take that for granted, and we had the European campaign, on top of that. It’s been pretty impressive, to say the least, from the players and I’m so proud of them.”

    Celtic are 10 points better off in the Premiership this season after 30 games, compared to last season, while they have scored an incredible 141 competitive goals across all competitions, 37 more than the 2018/19 campaign.

    Neil Lennon said: “That’s absolutely brilliant and it’s what we were looking for – myself, John, Damien and Woodsy – as a backroom team. We knew there were more goals in them. We train that way, to be positive and on the front foot.

    “The only disappointment to me, really, was going out of Europe the way we did. That was really disappointing because we really felt we could make inroads into the competition.

    “But our record for 2020 would stand up to any club in Europe or even throughout the world, and it’s not the easiest thing to do because teams are set up to stop you scoring or try to nullify you in any way they can, so I can’t ask any more of the players.

    “During the winter break, we told them to hold on to the feeling of disappointment they had, and the response has been emphatic to the point where we’re 13 points clear at the top of the table and in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup.

    “So we’ve been really, really good in terms of consistency, and the mindset has been good as well.

    “It’s how I want to see Celtic playing. We’re there to entertain the fans, and that’s in the DNA of the club, so the players have responded in the right way, there’s no question.”

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