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Saturday 25 November 2017

Bhoys pass 'acid test' but Lennon warns title race is far from over

Lisa Gray

Celtic manager Neil Lennon insists he is taking nothing for granted in the Scottish Premier League title race despite yesterday's emphatic victory over Rangers.

Defending champions Rangers were well below-par as Celtic cruised to a 3-0 victory that allowed them to move eight points clear at the top of the table, although Rangers still have two games in hand. But, as far as Lennon is concerned, there is still far too much football to be played before assumptions can be made about the destination of the trophy.

Asked if he now felt he had one hand on the silverware, the Celtic boss said: "No. Other people might say it was a pivotal day. We are very pleased, we are more than pleased, because that was emphatic.

"There are still 12 or 13 games to go in the season. In 2005, we had six or seven games left and still lost the league so there is still a lot of football to be played. It's going to get a bit more fraught and tense between now and the end of the season and I'm hoping we have the mentality to handle that."

However, Lennon is thrilled the destination of the title is now in Celtic's hands. He added: "It was a wonderful performance and the team did everything we asked of them. I couldn't be happier with them. It was a real acid test, as people were calling it before the game. Could this team get over the line? They answered all the questions today.

"It's not just Rangers, since the turn of the year we have played very well against all the opposition we have faced. For the first time in a while, we are in charge again and it's in our hands and not theirs."

The Old Firm battles are billed as 'master versus apprentice' with rookie Lennon up against the vastly experienced Walter Smith.

But the Hoops manager insisted: "He's still the master, he's got seven or eight titles under his belt and has made a massive contribution to Scottish football. This league is far from over yet."

Irish Independent

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