Rangers v Celtic: Far from Greek tragedy for Lennon as he plays down Samaras miss
Neil Lennon had no problem with Georgios Samaras' late penalty miss during yesterday’s Old Firm clash at Ibrox and praised Allan McGregor for making a fine save.
The Greece striker scored from the spot at Ibrox at the start of the year but keeper McGregor guessed right yesterday, diving to his left to push a well-struck penalty round the post.
“My only complaint is that he put it the same side as he did the last time,” said Lennon.
“To be fair to Allan, it was a fantastic save and he made another great save from (Daniel) Majstorovic as well.
“So sometimes you have to tip your hat to the goalkeeper.
“If it had been a poorly-struck penalty then I would have criticised him for it, but it wasn't, it was an excellent save.
“So we have no problem with Samaras, we wouldn't be in this position if it wasn't for him earlier in the season.”
The Parkhead boss continued: “He grew into the game as did the rest of the team.
“We weathered what Rangers threw at us and once our centre halves got a grip of their centre halves, the midfield got stronger and they started to wilt.
“We defended set-pieces very well and I don't think our goalkeeper had a save to make, although they had a few chances which flashed past the post but you expect that when you come here.
“We were the better team in the second half and should have won the game.
“I think we now have a slight advantage in the title race. We have a game in hand against Inverness and we can't afford to lose it.”
Meanwhile, Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell praised Lennon, the Hoops players and supporters for their efforts.
“On behalf of the club, I would like to applaud the manager and players for their magnificent efforts,” said Lawwell. “It's also very important that we thank our supporters, too, for the positive backing which they gave to the team.
“Clearly, it's been a difficult week for Neil and he deserves enormous praise for the way he has handled this very tough period.
“I know Neil has been very humbled by the support given to him by our fans during this time, and they were magnificent in the way they backed him and the team.
“They were a credit to the club and supported the team the Celtic way, and their backing will be vital over the final few weeks of the season.”