NEIL LENNON praised skipper Scott Brown following his masterful midfield display in the 4-1 win over Motherwell at Fir Park yesterday.

And the Celtic boss also explained leaving out Shane Duffy and Odsonne Edouard from his starting line-up in a must-win encounter in Lanarkshire.

Lennon had massive decisions to make in the wake of the appalling performance against Sparta Prague at Parkhead on Thursday night where the Hoops massively under-performed in a 4-1 flop that almost certainly killed off hopes of progressing in the Europa League.

Three goals from Mohamed Elyounoussi and a late fourth from substitute Olivier Ntcham gave the club only their second win in seven games and a much-needed three Premiership points as they continued their bid for a historic 10 in a row.

Lennon singled out captain courageous Brown for a fine all-round performance and, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “We told him to go out and play with a swagger and he did that. I thought he had an outstanding influence .

“He’s had a bit of criticism and he’s not averse to it. All the greats at Celtic have taken a bit of criticism along the way, but he’s responded to it the way I knew he would.

“There is no way I was going to leave him out.”

Lennon said: “Shane Duffy needed a rest. It was just a little bit of rotation. You could say the same about leaving Odsonne Edouard out. He’s not been himself since the Covid thing. He comes on, sets up a goal.”

The Republic of Ireland international central defender also got the call to go on against Well when Kristoffer Ajer limped off with a recurrence of his hamstring strain in the in the 78th minute.

Lennon now heads into the international break hoping there’s no repeat of the last time where he lost four players – Edouard, Ryan Christie and Israeli duo Nir Bitton and Hatem Abd Elhamed – from his squad upon return due to coronavirus-related issues.

The Hoops gaffer added: “We want them all to represent their country, but we don’t want a repeat of what happened last time. We want the associations to look after our players, which we expect them to do.

“Players travelling all over the world is not ideal and it’s very disruptive to your season, especially when you have as many as we have in the squad.”


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