Celtic: Neil Lennon praises side following League Cup victory

Celtic manager Neil Lennon addresses his players at full-time
Celtic manager Neil Lennon addresses his players at full-time

Neil Lennon expressed pride in his Celtic players after the League Cup holders saw off Dunfermline 2-1 in extra-time at Celtic Park.

James Forrest netted the winner for Celtic after being forced beyond normal time by their Scottish Championship opponents.

"We dominated the game," said Lennon.

"I'm very proud of the players because it was very difficult off the back of Tuesday [Champions League exit] and we knew it would be flat."

Mikey Johnston gave Celtic the lead before Tom Beadling's leveller forced extra-time.

With Dunfermline goalkeeper Ryan Scully in impressive form, the hosts had to wait until Forrest's deflected effort secured a place in Sunday's draw for the quarter-finals.

"We dominated the game and I think Dunfermline scored with their one attempt on goal," said Lennon.

"We flashed a lot across goal and hit the bar; had loads of possession, loads of chances and loads of corners. We could've won the game in 90 minutes and could've won the game in 120 minutes.

"They need a break now; they need to take tomorrow off and just get away from football. There's a lot of tired bodies in there.

"We're into the next round which is the most important thing. I wasn't displeased with the performance at all, although you're in a no-win situation; you've got to win it [the tie] four or five; if you don't then it's a poor performance - but it wasn't. We showed a lot of character and kept going. We got what we deserved in the end, which was a win."

James Forrest scored the winner for Celtic
Forrest's deflected effort send the League Cup holders into the quarter finals

One concern for Lennon was the loss of Kristoffer Ajer, who went off in the second half with a shoulder injury, with AIK up on Thursday in the Europa League play-off round.

"Kristoffer Ajer popped his shoulder," said the Celtic manager. "He's been thrown to the ground and his shoulder's popped out. I think the shoulder's popped back in again and we think he should be okay for Thursday.

"You're not really surprised by anything in football any more. Dunfermline scored with their one real attack - that happens in football sometimes.

"You've got to refocus and try to break them down. We took forever to do that but we got there in the end."

Meanwhile, Dunfermline manager Stevie Crawford said he was proud of his players after giving Celtic a "fright" in front of a stunned Celtic Park.

"We came with a game plan and we knew we were going to give up chances to try and restrict Celtic getting the ball in wide areas," he said.

"We did that very well and restricted them to chances outside the box. We got back in the game and went two up front and we have given Celtic a fright."

Top Stories

Around Scottish sport