NEIL LENNON was not one bit surprised when Ryan Christie scored a classic Hampden goal to put Celtic on their way to a monumental Scottish Cup Final meeting with Hearts on December 20.
The Scotland international broke the deadlock in the 18th minute when he finished off a mesmerising sequence of passing among his team-mates to accept a return ball from Tom Rogic and sweep an unstoppable 25-yarder high past the helpless Joe Lewis.
Five minutes later Mohamed Elounoussi fired one in from practically under the crossbar after Rogic had worked some magic on the bye-line on the left to loft over a cross that eliminated the keeper and centre-back Andy Considine at the back post.
There was only going to be one winner after that as the Parkhead side moved within 90 minutes of a phenomenal TWELFTH successive domestic honour for an unprecedented quadruple treble.
Lennon smiled as he saw Christie kick-start the path to even more glory and he told Premier Sports: “I thought he was great first-half and I did say to him: ‘I fancy you to score today’ before the game and he’s delivered.
“Great performance and real quality in his play and, rightly, Man of the Match.
“I love him as a player and he showed all his qualities on this occasion.”
The delighted Irishman continued: “I’m thrilled, I thought we were magnificent first-half.
“We could have been two or three up. Second-half, we looked a little bit leggy which is understandable.
“We had to make the substitutions and change the shape a little bit, but we saw the game out comfortably and it’s another brilliant win for the players.
“We’ve been playing well, it’s been coming, we just need to piece the 90 minutes together now.
“Under the circumstances with the volume of games, the demands and getting players back fitter it augurs well for the next few weeks.”
The victory ensured a clean sheet for the first time since the 2-0 win over St Johnstone in Perth on October 4 and Lennon remarked: “We looked more like ourselves, Nir Bitton came in and did a great job.
“We restricted them to very little and Scott Bain was a very reassuring presence at the back.”
Wizard of Oz Rogic also received praise from the Hoops gaffer as he added: “We’re delighted to have him back, he’s been out for a long time and it’s been a bit of a slow burner for him this season.
“We have to manage him the right way in between the games, but he’s a talented player, it’s a great pick-out for the second goal, absolutely outstanding.
“He makes us better when he’s fit and at it plus it was great for Odsonne Edouard to get 70 minutes, as well.”