Neil Lennon has certainly had his heroic moments this season, but there are also some impressive underrated results that he hasn’t gotten enough praise for.
His first derby match at Ibrox this season and our first win in Italy in the club’s history were the two main highlights. The Betfred Cup final win was also a fine moment as we won our first trophy of the season.
But as the current campaign takes an indefinite break, let’s take a look at three of the most under-appreciated results since the 2019-20 season began:
AIK 1-4 Celtic (Europa League playoff second-leg)
This was a stunning result.
Celtic came into this one against a red-hot AIK looking to defend their 2-0 home advantage from the first leg. It was expected to be a tough night in Stockholm, with Neil Lennon still trying to win over the doubters.
The game was also just two weeks after Cluj had dumped us out of the Champions League. Brendan Rodgers had his moments away from home as Celtic manager in Europe, but we’ve been known in the past for our abysmal record outside of Scotland.
However, Celtic strolled to success against the Swedish champions with ease. Both James Forrest and Mikey Johnston grabbed first-half efforts to ensure that Seb Larsson’s penalty meant little.
Lennon’s men then went on to control the second-half and bag two more from terrific cross-balls. Christopher Jullien got his first for the club whilst Lewis Morgan grabbed a late fourth. Game over, and Celtic had secured one of their most impressive away results for some time.
2. Aberdeen 0-4 Celtic (Scottish Premiership)
Perhaps this result was far too close to Celtic’s 2-1 win at home to Lazio to be recognised for what it was, but this absolutely dominant performance at Pittodrie seems to have been relatively forgotten about.
Celtic went up to Aberdeen to face what looked a tricky fixture. It also came just three days after a heroic effort against Lazio that required a last-minute Jullien header to win it.
Yet Lennon’s men were anything but drained. Ridiculously, Celtic had scored all four by half-time in the Granite City. All four were goals of sheer class too. Odsonne Edouard, Jeremie Frimpong, Forrest, and Mohamed Elyounoussi were all on the scoresheet.
Aberdeen had come into the game having lost just one of their previous seven league matches and unbeaten at Pittodrie in the Premiership too.
Yet they never managed a single sniff at goal. Celtic had second-half chances to add to their 4-0 advantage, and even though the Hoops had played against Lazio just days previously, they were in electric form to keep their title bid on track.
3. Hibernian 2-5 Celtic (Betfred Cup semi-final)
Another result that went under the radar, perhaps due to the fact that we conceded two sloppy goals. However, our 5-2 Betfred Cup semi-final win was surprisingly one-sided.
Paul Heckingbottom’s Hibs may have been struggling in the league, but they had held us to a 1-1 draw at Easter Road just two months previous to this one.
But Celtic were in no mood to be friendly. A brace from Elyounoussi sandwiched Callum McGregor’s goal to ensure we had scored three by half-time. Melker Hallberg threatened to make a game of it to pull things back to 2-1 for a period before Moi’s second.
The second half was a mere formality as Celtic continued to keep Hibs at bay and control the midfield. Scott Brown even got in on the act by sandwiching a Florian Kamberi goal with his own brace. This was total destruction of the Hibees and proved to be Heckingbottom’s final game in charge of them.
Lennon hadn’t just beaten his former club here – he ripped them apart. He also managed to record our highest goal return against Hibs since Lennon got the Easter Road side promoted back in 2017. Another fine win that simply doesn’t get the spotlight it deserves.
RENNES 1-1 CELTIC (Europa League group stage)
The Lazio double-header clearly overshadowed what was a sensational point to open up the groups against a talented Rennes side. They currently sit 3rd in Ligue 1, so Ryan Christie’s equaliser to cancel out M’Baye Niang’s opener shouldn’t go unnoticed. A fine point that laid down a platform for Celtic to build on.
CELTIC 7-0 ST JOHNSTONE (Scottish Premiership)
Celtic needed a confident start to the season to lay down the challenge to Rangers. Christie was the star of the show with a hattrick, as Johnston, Olivier Ntcham, Edouard, and Leigh Griffiths all got on the scoresheet. A superb flag day that will be remembered for some time.
KILMARNOCK 1-3 CELTIC (Scottish Premiership)
After defeat to Rangers, Celtic came into this one having recorded an unconvincing Scottish Cup win against Partick Thistle.Interestingly, we had also won one of our last three visits there. Even in the game we did win, that 1-0 win at Rugby Park back in February 2019 – Celtic weren’t convincing.
They certainly were this time around. Edouard and Griffiths were on the scoresheet once again. Even if Nicke Kabamba did pull one back for Killie, Jullien notched another header to regain our two-goal advantage. Celtic were never overly troubled here, with Lennon recording our most convincing win at Rugby Park since August 2017.