Lennon pleased with Celtic response after weekend ‘jag’

The Celtic boss said body language and concentration were an improvement from the St Mirren defeat.

Lennon pleased with Celtic response after weekend ‘jag’ SNS Group

Neil Lennon was delighted with the response his Celtic side showed to their weekend’s woes with a 4-0 win over managerless Kilmarnock at Rugby Park.

The Parkhead boss admitted the damaging 2-1 home defeat to St Mirren in the Scottish Premiership on Saturday was a new low for him.

He made five changes for the trip to Ayrshire and skipper Scott Brown, returning from a two-game suspension, got the visitors up and running when he headed the reigning champions ahead in the 29th minute.

Odsonne Edouard converted a penalty in the 51st minute and the French striker grabbed his second 10 minutes later, with fellow forward Albian Ajeti adding a fourth with three minutes remaining to take Celtic 20 points behind leaders Rangers with a game in hand.

Lennon said: “I got the reaction I wanted. It was the polar opposite of what we produced on Saturday.

“People were criticising me for jagging the team but they needed the jag to be honest, and we got a great performance and a great result. The body language, their attacking play, the concentration, was so much better.

“That is more like us so we have to build on that from here on in.”

There was no surprise Lennon rang the changes following the St Mirren defeat with a debut for right-back Jonjoe Kenny, who arrived on loan from Everton on deadline day, with 35-year-old Brown, defender Stephen Welsh, midfielder Ryan Christie and Ajeti back in the side.

The Northern Irishman said: “Ryan is a good player, he has been a bit off the boil but he played well tonight.

“Ajeti’s work ethic hasn’t been great and he hasn’t been in the best condition but he has got himself there and he played well.

“Jonjoe coming in played very well on his debut. We had to be patient to get a right-back in after (Jeremie) Frimpong left and that puts (Kris) Ajer back in there (centre-back).

“Young Welsh had a good game and Browny looked more like himself.

“It was a good performance, a very good performance, we played well and it could have been more so I am delighted.”

Killie’s head of football operations James Fowler and assistant Andy Millen were in the home dugout after Alex Dyer had departed following the defeat by St Johnstone at the weekend and they watched the Ayrshire side slump to a fourth successive defeat.

Fowler said: “Overall we’re disappointed to lose the game 4-0, we created enough chances to score at least a couple of goals ourselves.

“I’ve seen some of the goals back and certainly when you look at their second, I don’t think it’s a penalty.

“Speaking to the fourth official, he said the referee and the linesman were having a conversation and there was a delay in the award, so that tells its own story.

“The third looks as though it could be offside as well so that’s the frustrating part, those big moments in games.

“We had spoken as a staff to potentially change the shape at half-time, and to lose a goal so early that I don’t think should have been a penalty, that’s frustrating.”

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