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‘PERFORMANCES CAN GET BETTER,’ ADMITS LENNY AS HE PAYS TRIBUTE TO RODGERS

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CELTIC can wrap up their eighth successive title against Neil Lennon’s former team Hibs at Easter Road in a fortnight’s time.

The Hoops stumbled towards another crown after a scoreless stalemate against a well-drilled Livingston outfit at Parkhead yesterday – the second consecutive goalless confrontation against Gary Holt’s side this season.

The champagne may be on ice, but celebrations are around the corner and interim manager Lennon insisted the credit belongs to ex-boss Brendan Rodgers who made a swift departure for Leicester City with 11 Premiership games still to play.

Hoops fans were stunned at the rapid exit of the former Liverpool and Swansea gaffer after only two and a half years in the Parkhead dug-out, but the interim manager acknowledged what he inherited in February at such a crucial stage of the campaign with a historic treble treble within touching distance.

Lennon, speaking to the Evening Times, said: “It’s a partial claim for me, this eight-in-a-row title. For me, it’s down to Brendan and the work he implemented and the foundations which are in place. I want to do it for him as much as anybody else.

“To finish the season unbeaten would be great. It has been difficult, I won’t say it’s been easy, but we are going well. I think performances can get better. The win over Rangers was obviously psychologically huge for us. We then came off the back of that with a decent performance at St Mirren.

“This is still very much so a Brendan team rather than my team. There are players here from my previous time, but it’s still got Brendan’s stamp on it.”

Lennon would like to complete an unprecedented three seasons of domestic success for the club by adding the Scottish Cup to the championship and League Cup, but he knows there are still obstacles in their way.

OOPS…Oliver Burke blows the chance of a late winner as he fires wide of the post.

Aberdeen in the semi-final a week today will be no pushovers and the holders failed to spark against the Pittodrie outfit in another shot-shy 0-0 draw in the league last month.

The champions faltered in a fumbling performance against Holt’s Lothian team yesterday in a match bereft of too many highlights, a fact which was emphasised with a stunning stoppage-time miss from substitute Oliver Burke only a couple of yards out with the goal gaping. It looked a certainty, but the on-loan West Brom striker weakly fired wide of the post.

Lennon admitted: “It’s frustration because we created great chances, even in the 93rd minute we had a great chance to win it.

“The performance was decent, the first-half very good, the second-half a little bit huffy and puffy. We put a bit of width in the team and again we created some really good chances. I just think we overplay it, at times we can get the ball forward a little bit quicker.

“It will be good to have a couple of days off to rest and recover and then focus on the semi-final.

“Look, we are in a great position – 14 points clear and, yes, Rangers have a game in hand, but they have to win it. If they do, it will only be 11 with five games to go, so I think we are in a very strong position.

“We know what we have to do and we’ve got a big semi-final now outwith the league to look forward to, so I think there’s a lot to be happy about.”

 
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