Under-fire Cetic boss Neil Lennon hails his side’s ‘vigour’ after the struggling Hoops battled to victory against Lille to earn their first win in six games… but he insists the improved display was only ‘baby steps’
- Celtic beat 3-2 Lille at home in a morale-boosting victory for the struggling team
- David Turnbull netted the winner after the French side pegged them back twice
- Neil Lennon has come under huge pressure with Celtic trailing in the title race
- He said the win was nothing more than ‘baby steps’ but hailed Celtic’s ‘vigour’
Neil Lennon hailed match-winner David Turnbull before warning his Celtic players that Thursday night’s impressive victory over Lille was only a small step in the right direction.
Star man Turnbull scored the clincher for a much-changed side after they had twice been pegged back by the French side in their final Europa League match.
Their battling display was in marked contrast to the dire performances that have cost the team so dearly domestically and prompted demonstrations from fans.
Neil Lennon said his side deserved credit for beating Lille but insisted it was only ‘baby steps’
Warning his men it was only a beginning, though, Lennon said: ‘It’s a positive. It’s nothing more, nothing less.
‘It’s baby steps in the right direction and we need to build from that.
‘We have beaten a very good team tonight.
‘We played with good vigour and real good attitude towards the game. There was a good work ethic and no lack of quality as well.’
Lennon made six changes from the team who drew with St Johnstone with Conor Hazard making his debut in goal and Ismaila Soro his first start.
The under-fire boss congratulates David Turnbull (L) after he netted the winner for the Hoops
He praised the players for showing ‘vigour’ as they battled to victory over a ‘very good team’
Turnbull was the best performer in an accomplished team display, with Lennon effusive in his praise.
‘Turnbull and Soro had great games. (Patryk) Klimala and young (Ewan) Henderson played really well.
‘There was just a nice good vibe about it and the atmosphere over the last couple of days has been very positive.’
Asked if Turnbull and Soro would now be hard to drop, Lennon replied: ‘Well, they have done well enough to merit a place, as have some of the others. I’d love to win on Sunday now to back it up. That’s all we are thinking about.’
On the possible mental impact of winning after five games without victory, Lennon said: ‘Psychologically this gives everyone a lift. ‘
Lennon believes the victory will give the whole team a big boost after a string of poor results
Jeremie Frimpong should be fine to face Kilmarnock on Sunday despite being taken off after crashing into an advertisement board.
Meanwhile, Celtic warned fans intending protesting at the stadium on Sunday to think again.
Demonstrations have taken place at recent games with Ross County and St Johnstone with more planned for the game with Kilmarnock.
A Celtic statement read: ‘The club fully understands the concern and frustration amongst supporters following recent results and performances, but clearly, we do not believe staging an event of this kind is in the best interests of supporters, the team or the club in general, particularly just prior to the match.
Celtic warned supporters planning to protest at the stadium on Sunday to think again
‘For important clarification, in the present circumstances and given the health risk of gatherings of any kind, the club has not agreed to any gathering taking place.
‘Celtic Football Club is not involved in the organisation of the proposed gathering.
‘The club is also duty-bound to point out it has received legal and safety advice indicating that, if strict social distancing and applicable Scottish Guidance are not implemented, any such gathering would breach current legislation – something the club would wish all supporters to be aware of.’