Friday 18 October 2019

Neil Lennon hails 'absolutely superb' Celtic as Odsonne Edouard double sees off Kilmarnock

Celtic 3 Kilmarnock 1

Celtic's James Forrest and Kilmarnock's Dario Del Fabro tussle during the Scottish Premiership match at Celtic Park
Celtic's James Forrest and Kilmarnock's Dario Del Fabro tussle during the Scottish Premiership match at Celtic Park
Celtic's Odsonne Edouard scores his side's first goal of the game during the Scottish Premiership win over Kilmarnock at Celtic Park, Glasgow. Photo: Ian Rutherford/PA Wire

Ronnie Esplin

Neil Lennon hailed a "superb performance" after Celtic came from behind to beat Kilmarnock 3-1 at Parkhead.

Killie striker Eamonn Brophy fired the visitors ahead in the 33rd minute against the run of play, but  French striker Odsonne Edouard headed in a leveller a minute before the break then slid in a second eight minutes after the restart.

Ryan Christie added a third soon afterwards, while Hoops goalkeeper Fraser Foster saved a late penalty from midfielder Alan Power as the home side made it six Scottish Premiership wins out of six to remain three points ahead of Rangers.

"That was an absolutely superb performance," said the Hoops boss, who revealed defender Chris Jullien came off with a hamstring problem and Moritz Bauer suffered a twisted ankle.

"The scoreline flattered Kilmarnock at half-time.

"They had one real chance, if you even want to call it an attack, and a great goal from Brophy. There was a bit of luck with the deflection.

"Before that, we had peppered Kilmarnock's goal and they are a good side.

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Celtic's James Forrest and Kilmarnock's Dario Del Fabro tussle during the Scottish Premiership match at Celtic Park
"We hit the post and worked the goalkeeper on a number of occasions. We thoroughly merited the equaliser when it came.

"We just asked for more of the same in the second half. Some of the play for 15 to 20 minutes after half-time was absolutely outstanding."

Under new rules red and yellow cards can be issued to managers and coaches for misconduct in the technical area.

Lennon praised the system while being disappointed by the yellow card shown to him by referee Greg Aitken after his complaints following the penalty, awarded for a challenge by Celtic skipper Scott Brown on Killie substitute Osman Sow.

He said: "It's great. It's like a warning to calm down. It's fine. I've no issue with that at all.

"I was a bit disappointed, but I'm not going to criticise the referee for that.

"I was not happy with the yellow card, because I just reacted the same way any other manager would have. But overall I thought the referee was fine.

"Bobby (Madden, fourth official) is a great official. I was talking recently about not losing my temper.

"I didn't lose it that badly, but you get a warning and that's it. I was maybe a bit demonstrably (voicing my opinion) and you're not allowed to do that any more, but there's no real issue there at all."

Angelo Alessio hoped his side could have made it into the dressing with their lead intact.

He said: "We were 1-0 on the counter-attack, then it was a shame because we lost a goal at the end of the first half.

"The second half was very difficult for us, because Celtic pushed very high. We made two mistakes and Edouard scored two goals.

"It is much better to go into the changing room at 1-0. We can put pressure on Celtic, but this is a tough game. They have a lot of players who can decide the game."

There was even an unsuccessful penalty claim when Power blocked a shot from Forrest.

However, the home side found themselves behind when Brophy took a wonderful pass from Mohamed El Makrini and jinked inside the Hoops penalty area before driving high past Foster, perhaps with the aid of a nick off defender Kristoffer Ajer.

But with a minute of the first-half remaining, Edouard almost-casually rose to power in a header from Forrest's cross to ease increasing anxiety.

Branescu made a great save from Nitcham's curling shot soon after the break but he was beaten again by Edouard after 53 minutes when he slid in from a tight angle after being played in by Bauer.

Celtic were in top gear. Christie turned the ball in from close range three minutes later after Branescu had made a great save from Forrest's header, following a terrific Boli Bolingoli delivery.

Foster stretched to tip a Brophy drive over the crossbar in the 68th minute and - with five minutes remaining, when Killie were awarded a contentious penalty by referee Greg Aitken for Scott Brown's challenge on substitute Osman Sow - he parried Power's spot-kick clear to huge cheers from the Celtic faithful.

There was still time for Forrest to clip the crossbar with a deflected shot as Celtic threatened once more at the death.

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