Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 24 May 2016

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Lennon offers no excuses for Bhoys' miserable cup exit

By Gavin McCafferty

Published 10/02/2014

Disappointed: Neil Lennon said his side weren't hungry enough
Disappointed: Neil Lennon said his side weren't hungry enough

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes praised the discipline of central midfielders Willo Flood and Barry Robson after the former Celtic pair helped knock the holders out of the William Hill Scottish Cup.

Celtic were on top for the first 20 minutes, during which time Anthony Stokes fired the home side in front with a powerful finish after taking down a lofted pass from Georgios Samaras.

But, allied to some sloppy play from the hosts, Flood and Robson were instrumental in turning the tide as they got on top of Scott Brown and Stefan Johansen in the middle of the park to send the Dons on their way to a 2-1 fifth-round win.

The experienced pair broke up play and kept the ball moving to the likes of Jonny Hayes and Peter Pawlett just ahead of them. And Robson played a key part in both goals.

His 38th-minute corner earned a deserved equaliser when it broke for defender Russell Anderson to volley acrobatically into the roof of the net, and the former Scotland midfielder played Pawlett through four minutes into the second half to fire in for the winner.

McInnes said of his midfield pair: "Both players want to get after the game. Both players are the type who just want to compete and get after them.

"But you have got to pick and choose your fights out there. The two of them gave us a platform to turn the ball over and attack."

Lennon tipped Aberdeen to be a force in the latter stages of the competition but he was disappointed with his players' performance and their desire.

"It will take a good team to beat them if they play like that," the Celtic manager said.

"They played with good energy and were very committed. And they looked the hungrier team at times and that's something I can't say about my team over the course of the season.

"We have to show a bit of character now and take the criticism, we all do, myself, the players, and finish the season really well."

Lennon added: "We were desperate to defend the trophy and I want more from my players. It's in the club's DNA. We are built to win trophies and this was one I wanted to win."

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