Neil Lennon has labelled some of Celtic’s football against St Johnstone today as “top drawer” as he opens up on what he told his players at half-time.
Celtic struggled for 45 minutes in Perth as they were held to a scoreless first half. It got even worse five minutes after the restart when Shaun Rooney powered home a header to throw Celtic back into a crisis again.
Lennon has revealed that this is something he forewarned the players about. However, he moved to reassure them at half-time that they were playing well enough to score themselves this afternoon. It was clear he was impressed with what he saw for long spells.
Speaking to Sky Sports Football post-match [14/02, 14:14], Lennon said: “I thought we played really well again. I thought we started off slowly and then I thought the second half of the first half we were dominant. Was just frustrated not to be in front at half-time.
has”I said to them ‘Look, St Johnstone may score, but the way we’re playing, we look like we’re going to score goals today’. And that proved to be the case. We scored two fantastic goals second half.
“But I thought that some of the football today, and on a really sticky pitch, was top drawer.”
Not top-drawer, but Lennon can be satisfied with his Celtic players’ character today
There was nothing top-drawer about today in truth. Perhaps outwith the quality of the two goals scored to turn the game around in quick succession. Those were indeed some magical phases of play from the Hoops, and something we haven’t seen enough of this season.
But outside of that, it was a real slog. Similar to large spells of the game against St Mirren in mid-week too where we bossed possession but just couldn’t find a final ball when in good areas. That did change for a short spell in the second half.
Yet even after our goals it became something of a chore to watch. We didn’t control the game at any stage today, and there were still a couple of half-chances for Saints before the full-time whistle. On another day, they see the ball drop for them and slam one past Scott Bain.
We need to be a lot tidier in possession in the middle of the park than we were this afternoon. Granted, Lennon does have a point. The pitch certainly wasn’t easy to operate on. Especially given how often the ball was bobbling when players were trying to make defence-splitting balls.
From a Celtic perspective, we should just be satisfied to cross this one off with the three points under our belts. It could’ve gone very differently on another day had Edouard not shown up.
And for Lennon, he’ll feel as though he’s finally getting some progress going when it comes to rebuilding his own reputation. Even if, in truth, this winning run changes absolutely nothing.