Monday 23 September 2019

Lennon praise for new Bhoy Bayo after striker claims two 'own goals'

Celtic 3 Hearts1

Celtic's Vakoun Issouf Bayo after his second goal. Photo: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire
Celtic's Vakoun Issouf Bayo after his second goal. Photo: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire

Gavin McCafferty

Neil Lennon hailed Vakoun Bayo after the striker claimed a double on his first start - even though Hearts boss Craig Levein insisted they were both own goals.

Bayo attacked crosses from James Forrest and Kristoffer Ajer as Celtic finished the weekend on top spot in the Scottish Premiership. Hamstring injuries had restricted the 22-year-old to three late appearances off the bench following his January move from Slovakian side Dunajska Streda, but he made his mark in Celtic's third league win from three.

Forrest's 29th-minute cross was bundled home as Bayo competed with Christophe Berra and the striker was on hand again on the hour mark after Ajer's low delivery was swept home as the forward challenged with Craig Halkett.

Bayo later headed against the post before going off with cramp.

Lennon said: "We were a bit slow to get the ball into him early but once he found his feet in the game he was superb and should have had a hat-trick. I have told him that as well.

"His forte is getting on the end of crosses and he's unlucky, he hit the post with a header, but he can be absolutely delighted, and we all are with him as well.

Celtic's Fraser Forster saves Hearts' Conor Washington penalty but Washington scores on the follow up. Photo: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire
Celtic's Fraser Forster saves Hearts' Conor Washington penalty but Washington scores on the follow up. Photo: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire

"I love the second goal. It's a real striker's goal, getting across the defender. It's an absolutely wonderful finish. He had a real bad hamstring injury and that kept him out from March onwards. Then he had a decent pre-season and the hamstring recurred. So he has had to be patient with the injury and his rehabilitation.

"We just felt Odsonne (Edouard) looked very fatigued on Thursday and he has a bit of a hand injury, and it was a good opportunity to showcase Bayo, see what he could do in that environment, and he excelled."

Bayo said: "I touched the ball for the first one. The defender also touched the ball but I got the last touch. I scored two goals."

However, Hearts manager Levein said: "We scored two own goals and gifted Celtic the third goal. They had five shots on goal in the match so I'm sitting here feeling we have shot ourselves in the foot.

Celtic's Christopher Jullien heads over. Photo: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire
Celtic's Christopher Jullien heads over. Photo: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire

Meanwhile, Lennon is hopeful of bringing in new players ahead of the last full week of the transfer window. "We need players in in two or three positions," said Lennon, whose new signing Fraser Forster saved a late penalty before Conor Washington netted the rebound.

Celtic's Callum McGregor scores his side's second goal. Photo: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire
Celtic's Callum McGregor scores his side's second goal. Photo: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire

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