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Lennon: Defence made the difference in derby defeat

The Celtic manager bemoaned his team's loss of "poor goals" as Rangers won 2-0.

Lennon: Defence made the difference in derby defeat SNS Group

Celtic manager Neil Lennon blamed poor defending for his side’s 2-0 defeat to Rangers but said the team can bounce back from the derby loss.

Two goals from Rangers centre-back Connor Goldson were enough to seal three points for the visitors and leave Lennon dejected.

He said that the manner of conceding the goals was particularly disappointing.

“We gave away poor goals and that’s the game in a nutshell,” he said. “Really poor from a set play early on in the game and so I’m bitterly disappointed with that.

“And then we did okay, missed a brilliant chance to equalise, and I thought we deserved to come in at least level at half-time.

“The second goal is really poor, it’s second phase from a corner. We didn’t stop the cross and then we didn’t get first contact. I felt that was the difference between the teams, that Rangers defended crossed and their box better than us.”

Lennon was forced to ring the changes as he had four players missing due to coronavirus and he gave five players their first start in an Old Firm game. Though he introduced Leigh Griffiths, Albian Ajeti and David Turnbull in an attempt to get back into the game, the trio couldn’t make an impact.

He said: “There’s nothing you can do about players who aren’t available but I thought we ran out of ideas second half.

“You could see that the subs weren’t fit enough and didn’t have the impact that we needed. We really needed a spark in the second half.”

Celtic now trail Rangers by four points in the title race, though they hold a game in hand. Last season Lennon’s side came from a similar position to win the title again but he warned against being complacent and said the team would need to dig in to achieve more success.

“It gives Rangers a lift, obviously, but it’s early in the season,” he said. “One thing you can’t do is listen to all the noise outside. We just need to get our players back, get them fit and that’ll bolster the squad with attacking intent because we lacked that today.

“We’ve done it before. But they can’t live on the past, this is the present and we’ve got a title race on our hands. We have to roll our sleeves up and do better. We lacked experience today and we were naïve in certain aspects of the game.”