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Neil Lennon blasts 'wasteful' Celtic

By Ronnie Esplin

Celtic 0 St Johnstone 1: Neil Lennon described Celtic's performance as “immature” and “wasteful” after Dave Mackay scored St Johnstone's first Clydesdale Bank Premier League goal of the season to give the Perth men their first win at Parkhead in 13 years.

Peter Enckelman saved Kris Commons' spot-kick in the third minute to enrage the Hoops boss, whose mood worsened when Mackay's deflected shot on the hour mark sealed a miserable day for the Hoops, who hit the woodwork through Commons and substitute Paddy McCourt during an afternoon of missed chances.

“I am angry, really angry,” said Lennon afterwards.

“We threw it away. We missed clear-cut chances, were complacent and wasteful in front of goal

“The longer the games goes on and it's nil-nil, you give the opposition encouragement.

“I'm fed up with it and fed up with us missing penalties, that would have given us a real good start.

“In the final third again we were awful. It was immature. That is one way to describe it

“Paddy gets in and he has the whole goal to aim at and he hits the post and it bounces out to James Forrest and he panics and hits the defender.

“So there is a bit of that in our play at the minute.”

Lennon did not reserve his criticism for his players and indulged in some introspection.

He said: “Maybe I need to look at myself as well. I am not immune to criticism obviously.

“If there is any comes my way I will take it.”

Lennon, who revealed that defender Charlie Mulgrew came off at half-time with a hamstring injury, hopes to have defender Kelvin Wilson, midfielder Beram Kayal and striker Gary Hooper back for the second leg of their Europa League play-off against Sion in Switzerland on Thursday night.

The tie is delicately poised following last week’s 0-0 draw in at Celtic Park and Lennon is demanding an improvement from his men as they bid to reach the group stages.

“I am looking for a huge reaction from everybody, they need to toughen up mentally,” he said, before refuting speculation that McCourt has asked for a transfer.

He said: “Paddy hasn't asked for a transfer so I don't know where that has come from.

“It's unsettling for him and its people making trouble for him.”

Saints boss Derek McInnes was determined to savour the result and put it down to the experience he had in his side.

The former Rangers and Dundee United midfielder said: “We have to enjoy today.

“I have left here with my tail between my legs often enough as a player and as a manager in the past.

“I think we had a more experienced team than Celtic and it is not often you can say that when you play against the Old Firm.”

Belfast Telegraph


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