NEIL LENNON has thrown down the gauntlet to any team hoping to derail the Celtic juggernaut as the team powers towards nine in a row.

The Hoops boss saw his side overcome Hearts 2-0 in difficult conditions at Tynecastle last night to move five points clear of their nearest challengers.

The pressure is now on Steven Gerrard to take his Ibrox outfit to Easter Road tomorrow night and try to prise three points away from Jack Ross’ Hibs.

First-half strikes from Ryan Christie and Olivier Ntcham allowed the champions some breathing space at the top and the team settled for the two-goal winning margin in the end. However, there can be no argument they could – and should – have scored at least another couple.

Lennon declared himself happy with the victory and, speaking to the Daily Record, admitted: “I was so pleased with a lot of the performances. More importantly, the manner we approached the game because we knew Hearts would be up and at it, and they were.

“It puts pressure on the rest of the teams around us to win their games.

“That’s what we set out to do, win the game and we’ve done that with a bit of style, as well.

“I can’t ask any more apart from putting even more of an emphatic scoreline on it.

“The players will now get a couple of days’ rest and we look forward to a difficult game at the weekend.”

The Irishman will prepare his players for the visit of Aberdeen on Saturday and there could be some shooting practice for his firing squad. Keeper Joel Pereira made a couple of good saves, but there were some wasteful attempts, too, that prevented Celtic from romping in with a more substantial result.

Lennon added: “We had two great chances before half-time and we had great chances in the second-half to go 3-0 or 4-0 up and if we had done that we could have maybe run riot.

“But the intensity and quality of our play at times was outstanding on a very difficult surface.

“We looked good, it’s another clean sheet against a team who were very much up for the game and played with a lot of pride. But we saw that off and it was a really good job. We’re in a really good place at the minute.

“I want us to get better as we go along and we’re not letting up at the minute.

“The midfield functioned really well and the front three has been playing brilliantly all season.”


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