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Celtic's late, late show all part of the learning process, says Lennon

Celtic 2 Dunfermline 1 - After Extra Time

Net gains: Celtic manager Neil Lennon
Net gains: Celtic manager Neil Lennon

By Gavin McCafferty

Celtic manager Neil Lennon believes their late, late win over Dunfermline was all part of the learning process for his summer recruits.

Left back Boli Bolingoli was recalled after being left out of the Champions League defeat by Cluj while Christopher Jullien came into the central defence for Jozo Simunovic, who was a pre-match fitness doubt.

Lennon - whose side will host Partick Thistle in the quarter-finals - admitted he had preferred Callum McGregor to Bolingoli against the Romanians partly because the Belgian's form had been up and down, but it was Jullien who initially struggled against the Pars in Celtic's 2-1 extra-time win in the Betfred Cup.

The £7m summer signing from Toulouse allowed Kevin Nisbet the best chance of the first half after misjudging a long ball but the striker couldn't hit the target with only Craig Gordon to beat.

Jullien went on to make some risky challenges, although he proved a real presence in the opposition box.

But Lennon felt both new defenders grew into the game and told them and his team-mates he was proud of their character after James Forrest netted in the 114th minute to stretch Celtic's winning run to 28 games in domestic cup competition.

Lennon said: "They did fine after a wee bit of a shaky start but they came on well as the game went on, so that will do them a world of good.

"It's a test of character sometimes, not just your footballing ability.

"They have seen great nights, they have seen frustrating games. It's all part of adapting to life here in Glasgow."

Celtic hit the target from 11 of their 36 shots on goal but Lennon was happy to see them take some ambitious strikes as Dunfermline crowded the penalty box.

The tactic paid off when Mikey Johnston netted from 25 yards for the opener before Tom Beadling's goal sparked extra-time.

"Sometimes when you have got that amount of bodies in front of you, you have got to take shots," Lennon said. "I want them to shoot.

"Sometimes it's difficult to play intricately through teams, sometimes a 25-yarder does the job."

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