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Neil Lennon: We had to battle for well-deserved win over Hamilton

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NEIL Lennon was delighted to see Celtic overcome mental fatigue to secure a dramatic win against Hamilton at Paradise and move two points clear at the top of the table.

Ryan Christie fired the champions ahead early in the first half with his 16th goal of the season. There was no shortage of chances throughout the remainder of the game but the Hoops found themselves still just 1-0 up as the final whistle approached.

Hamilton then snatched an equaliser, and it looked as if Celtic would only take a point from a game in which they dominated. However, Scott Brown emerged as the Hoops hero when he fired in a winner in injury-time.

Speaking after the game, Neil Lennon said he was relieved to see his team come away with the win, especially with the League Cup final just four days away.

“There’s no doubt that, subconsciously, the cup final would have been playing on some of their minds coming into the game tonight,” said the manager. “You could feel it in the atmosphere and in the stadium as well.

“There were times when portions of the game were flat and we looked a little bit tired, and that’s mental fatigue and not physical. They equalised and all of a sudden we came to life again and got the goal from Scott. We deserved to win the game, no question.

“All the wins determine which way the title goes. This is just another one. They’ll all determine it. Is it a pivotal night? Not really. We go two points clear but there’s still a long way to go. We keep our noises in front. Last week it was about goal difference and this week it’ll be the two-point gap.”

Celtic will now turn their attention to Sunday’s League Cup final against Rangers at Hampden. Neil Lennon promised his side would be back to their best for the game, and gave an update on the players he hoped to have fit for the game.

“I’m thrilled with them,” he said. “It’s a big night for us and I’m really proud of them. Will we play better on Sunday? There’s no question. We’ve rested a few players who will now be fresh so the rotation’s working for us.

“Edouard was out running today. He’ll be assessed again tomorrow and if he comes through tomorrow he’ll maybe train Friday. The others are just as important to me and are training tomorrow.”


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