Rangers 0-2 Celtic: Neil Lennon says side 'sent message' to detractors

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Highlights: Rangers 0-2 Celtic

Celtic "sent a real message" to their detractors and the rest of Scotland with victory over Rangers at Ibrox, according to manager Neil Lennon.

Some bookmakers, pundits and fans had made Steven Gerrard's side favourites for the season's first Old Firm derby.

However, goals by Odsonne Edouard and Jonny Hayes earned Celtic a fourth victory in four Scottish Premiership games this season.

"Everybody was writing us off, the experts," Lennon told BBC Scotland.

"If you believed all the hype, we shouldn't have turned up today. We've kept our counsel, we've stayed calm and we've put in a brilliant performance."

Celtic lost both their visits to Ibrox last season, but Edouard's first-half goal and a late breakaway from Hayes gave them a deserved win as Rangers failed to convert greater possession into clear chances.

"It was an outstanding team performance from start to finish," Lennon said. "As a team we competed brilliantly, which is something we haven't done here in the last two fixtures.

"I thought we were magnificent. We came, we played and we sent a real message out to the rest of the country and it sets up our European season and domestic season brilliantly."

Celtic graphic

'Signings showed great character'

Lennon said that if it had not been for Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor, his side could have won by more.

He also picked out captain Scott Brown and fellow midfielders Callum McGregor and Ryan Christie for praise, along with summer signings Boli Bolingoli, Christopher Jullien and Hatem Elhamed.

"I thought Scott really was outstanding in that first half and set the tempo, and he had great support from McGregor and Christie - their work-rate was fantastic after a big game on Thursday," Lennon said.

"The back four played outstandingly well - players who have already been written off. Bolingoli and Jullien were magnificent and showed great character and we looked very comfortable at 1-0."

Lennon lost Kristoffer Ajer to injury before kick-off and Nir Bitton - who had been filling in again at centre-half - during the second half.

"We had to patch it up a bit," the manager added. "Moritz Bauer has only come in the last couple of days, but he did a job when he came on, and Elhamed was outstanding considering he had been out."

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