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Celtic boss Neil Lennon challenges Hoops to reach first place in the Scottish Premiership this weekend

Celtic boss Neil Lennon challenges Hoops to reach top Scottish Premier League this weekend after comeback win against St Mirren

  • Celtic suffered an early setback against St Mirren, but recovered to win 2-1
  • Neil Lennon’s side scored through Shane Duffy and then James Forrest
  • Manager has set his sights on the top of the Scottish Premiership this weekend

Neil Lennon challenged Celtic on Wednesday evening to reach the top of the Scottish Premiership this weekend.

The Parkhead side narrowed the gap on the leaders Rangers to three points with a game in hand with a combative 2-1 win over St Mirren in Paisley.

The nine-in-a-row champions survived the loss of a third-minute goal by Lee Erwin on his first Saints start to turn things around via headlines from Shane Duffy and James Forrest.

Neil Lennon saw his Celtic side beat St Mirren and wants them to focus on the top spot

Neil Lennon saw his Celtic side beat St Mirren and wants them to focus on the top spot

The Hoops narrowed the gap on leaders Rangers to three points with a game in hand

The Hoops narrowed the gap on leaders Rangers to three points with a game in hand

The Hoops narrowed the gap on leaders Rangers to three points with a game in hand

Buddies boss Jim Goodwin repeated the call for the introduction of video assistant referees to the SPFL after his side yelled for a penalty against Duffy before half time.

Despite Saints borrower Zdenek Zlamal Celtic denying a more emphatic margin of profit with a nice penalty spot from Odsonne Edouard 14 minutes from time, Lennon expressed satisfaction with a win that could see his side soar with a win over Livingston on Saturday – 24 hours before. Meeting Rangers Hibs on Easter Road,

Admitting first place is a huge boost for his side, said the Celtic boss: ‘We look forward to that, they are working hard on it.

“We have now set them a number of goals for this block before we split up for the internationals

‘We had a great win over the weekend, we won 5-0, but we were ragged.

‘There was none tonight. Our intensity on the ball was very good and that gave us good control over the game, although we didn’t get five goals tonight.

‘In terms of form and attitude of the players, things went a lot better tonight.

‘It’s not like we admit to a set game, but our response to that was fantastic. We deserved to go up front at half time and we scored two very good goals, two headers, which is different for us.

And then we dominated the second half. Obviously we missed the penalty, but it wasn’t because of the lack of trying that we didn’t get that third goal. St Mirren defended stoically and very deeply and at times that can be difficult to tear down. It’s a great win and three great points. ‘

The lack of on-site vocal support is having a mental impact on his side, the Parkhead boss said: ‘I think it’s really hard for them, especially at a big club like ours.

Lennon was pleased with the shape of his side and their attitude in the game

Lennon was pleased with the shape of his side and their attitude in the game

Lennon was pleased with the shape of his side and their attitude in the game

‘It’s no excuse, but even for me winning 5-0 over the weekend – there isn’t much of a crowd there to enjoy it and soak up the atmosphere.

‘Even tonight would have been great, Tannadice would have been great.

“We adapt as best we can and as well as everyone else.”

Vocal in his criticism of the SPFL for their decision to force St Mirren to play Saturday’s defeat to Hibs despite the loss of three goalkeepers to Covid-19. Jim Goodwin expressed more annoyance last night over the failure of officials to discover a handball claim against Celtic goalscorer Duffy before half-time.

Jim Goodwin felt that his party should have received a penalty for handball

Jim Goodwin felt that his party should have received a penalty for handball

Jim Goodwin felt that his party should have received a penalty for handball

“People will be tired of my nagging voice,” said the Irishman, “but unfortunately I’m disappointed that we didn’t get a penalty kick in the first half.

I don’t want to suggest for a minute that Shane Duffy handled the ball deliberately, but he definitely hand-balled it. He lost the flight of the ball, it hit his left arm, stopping the ball that went to Richard Tait who would have had the chance to put the ball in the back of the net. It would have been a good chance.

“We’re not getting the friction from the green right now. That’s another that has gone against us. Perhaps the conversation we should have is ‘where are we going to find the money to get VAR’. ‘

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