NEIL LENNON has revealed he ordered his Celtic players not to “be a nice team” during his half-time talk yesterday.
The champions were leading Ross County with an early strike from Mohamed Elyounoussi at Parkhead in their quest to get back to the Premiership pinnacle.
The Hoops had dominated the Highlanders in a one-sided opening 45 minutes, but had required keeper Ross Laidlaw to pick the ball from the back of his net on just that solitary occasion.
Lennon did not waste time telling his performers what he expected in the second period.
The Irishman, speaking to BBC Scotland, admitted he told his players: “Don’t be nice, don’t be a nice team, don’t give oxygen to the opponent. They’re in the game because you’ve missed some really good chances, but your football is fantastic.
“So can you be ruthless now and show the home support and the rest of the country what a good team you can be?
“They answered that in spades.”
Within a whirlwind nine pulsating minutes, Odsonne Edouard had claimed a double and Callum McGregor and James Forrest had added two more.
The routed Dingwall outfit were put out of their misery when Elyounoussi claimed his side goal of the afternoon and the team’s sixth to complete the scoring with Fraser Forster enjoying a clean sheet.
Lennon added: “We were disappointed not to come in at half-time with more goals, but I was so happy with the first-half performance. It was exhilarating at times.
“But for bad luck and great goalkeeping it could’ve been two or three.
“I threw a challenge down to the players at half-time and they responded magnificently with a great volley of goals.
“That’s the most complete performance I’ve had since my second time here, maybe even my first time because I couldn’t fault anyone tactically or athletically – the team was outstanding.
“It was just pure talent on the pitch on this occasion. I enjoyed it immensely.”