Celtic boss Neil Lennon blows up Marcel Langer’s crack that could have “seriously damaged” Scott Brown


Neil Lennon refused to join Celtic’s title celebrations despite the fact that his team vented to take a ten point lead at the top of the table. The champions were already rushing to another routine victory with goals from Olivier Ntcham, Christopher Jullien, Callum McGregor and Ryan Chrstie when late news arrived Rangers vacillating at Rugby Park.

Jozo Simunovic then led a fifth goal before the home support reacted wildly as Kilmarnock claimed a last-minute winner to send Lennon's team to the top for a ninth straight title.

Only a collapse of monumental proportions can prevent the men of Parkhead from obtaining another crown of high-flying and - given the dazzling rhythm which the players of Lennon establish - in the second half of the season - such a sudden capitulation seems unimaginable.

But even if club supporters seem to believe the big one is back in the bag, the manager refuses to take everything for granted.

He said, "This will be the message to the players and they know it. We know there is still a long way to go and there will be twists and turns.

“We just have to focus on each game as we go along.

"The ten point difference gives them a little confidence. But we have a tough game on Sunday in Pittodrie. Aberdeen had a great victory last night and we take absolutely nothing for granted. "

Lennon, however, was left to drool over the last five stars of Celtic when, in Ayrshire, the Rangers came again.

Ntcham's opening goal allowed the home team to lose 1-0 at half time, but Hearts collapsed in spectacular style when attacked in the second period.

And Lennon continued, "They were beautiful - the urge and the hunger to play,

score goals, their run.

"Everything you want as a manager of a team that I have. It was a dazzling victory and an exceptional performance in the second half.

"A lot has changed since the start of the winter holidays, but that's how football is played. We stayed calm and we do what we do best behind the scenes conscientiously with the support network there. You can see that the fitness levels of the players are very good. The team also seems stronger. "

But Lennon suspects that Celtic's winning mindset may have made the biggest difference.

He nodded, "The mentality and psychology in any sport is huge. When you have Brown, McGregor, Forrest, guys who have been on the trail for a long time, it gives you that comfort. They know not to go too low when beaten and not too high when they win. Stay at this level. "

When asked if he had a message for club supporters after the celebrations in the stands, Lennon smiled, "You are amazing, thank you for your support and we will do our best to keep you entertained. They are the best fans in the world for me. "

For Hearts, it was a long, miserable night that was made even more excruciating in the final minutes when submarine Marcel Langer was shown straight red by referee Willie Collum after a dangerously late foul on Celtic skipper Scott Brown .

And Lennon added, "The referee got the red right because it was awful and could have caused serious damage to Scott. Fortunately, he is fine. "

Jambos boss Daniel Stendel is now looking at a full-blown relegation crisis after winning just one of his first nine league games.

Ironically, that victory was the one that broke a hole in the Rangers' title hopes just a few weeks ago, but last night's beating left the German behind Hamilton at the bottom of the table by a point and four to the drift of St Mirren in 10th place.

And he admitted that his players froze under the lights of Celtic Park.

He said, "I want to try to give the players the feeling that we have a chance.

Our plan was good but our game was not like our plan.

“We played like rabbits in the lighthouses. From the first moment, you could see the look.

“We tried to change our confidence on the field with a replacement, but as soon as Conor Washington went on the field, we conceded.

"After that we played a little bit better and wanted to keep him in the second half, but after five minutes of play the game was against us.

"It is very difficult for us to keep our trust and stay together, but it is the one and only way for us in difficult times.

"It was a very difficult night tonight, but we have to stay together and look forward to Saturday."

Hearts faces a crucial confrontation with Hamilton at Tynecastle and Stendel knows that time is short.

He said, "We need the players right now. There have been a lot of games in the past 18 days and we don't have as many options for changing positions. We sometimes struggled, but it doesn't matter, it's our situation.

“We have to sort it out and on Saturday we have to fight for each ball. This is what I expect from my players. "


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