FORM GUIDE
Celtic View|Vol 56 Issue 15
Neil Lennon is pleased with the way his team has performed in recent games, and he’s looking to build on that as the Hoops face more crucial fixtures this week.
TONY CONNELLY

CELTIC gave fans much to be optimistic about after a promising week which ended with the champions booking their place in next month’s Scottish Cup final. Neil Lennon was pleased to see his side look more like themselves last week, but the Celtic manager also pointed out that there is still far more to come from his side.

Celtic will face Hearts in the Scottish Cup final on December 20 following their 2-0 win against Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup semi-final on Sunday. A sensational long-range effort from Ryan Christie put Celtic ahead in the 17th minute and Mohamed Elyounoussi doubled the lead five minutes later.

Reflecting on the achievement, Neil Lennon was full of praise for his side’s mentality to convincingly defeat an on-form Aberdeen side just three days after their Europa League game in France.

“It’s fantastic to be in another cup final and follow on from a great performance in France,” said the manager. “I thought we were very comfortable and were outstanding in the first half. As expected, the players tired in the second half and we had to change the shape and change the personnel but we saw the game out comfortably and it’s another cup final.

“I’m sure there was a lot of expectation and pressure on them but they didn’t show any of it and handled the occasion very well.

“I thought the ones coming in – Edouard, Bitton and Rogic – contributed brilliantly to the team. The two wide men were fantastic and scored two great goals and I thought we should maybe have been one or two more up in the first half. In the second half, you could see we were getting a little bit tired with a little bit of fatigued settling in but we managed to see the game out comfortably.

“We have a cup final to look forward to, so we can park that for now and concentrate on the league. It’s an amazing achievement to reach yet another cup final, it’s unprecedented and they’ve come through with flying colours against all challenges. You have to take all that into consideration and applaud the mentality of the team as well as their ability.”

And while the attacking players garnered praise for their contribution, the Celtic manager also praised the defensive efforts of his players, ensuring a clean sheet at the National Stadium.

“Shane Duffy had a great game,” said Neil Lennon. “He defended really well in the box with the aerial threat and he looked confident and assured. His passing was nice and crisp and he can be delighted with his performance, it’s more like him. I thought Nir Bitton alongside him was very assured as well. Scott Bain looked very assured and it’s nice to keep a clean sheet.”

Defeating Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup semi-final to set up a final with Hearts is the same path Celtic walked down on route to winning the trophy and completing the Treble Treble at the end of the 2018/19 season.

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