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Page last updated at 16:16 GMT, Sunday, 17 October 2010 17:16 UK

Neil Lennon expresses joy at 'wonderful' Celtic

Referee Dougie McDonald tries to placate Celtic manager Neil Lennon
McDonald tries to placate Lennon after he changed his decision to award Celtic a penalty

Celtic boss Neil Lennon had mixed emotions after seeing his team snatch a 90th-minute winner at Dundee United.

He told BBC Scotland: "If that doesn't bring the supporters back to Scottish football, I don't know what will.

"I thought we were wonderful. Our forward play was breathtaking and defensively we were very solid."

But he was critical of referee Dougie McDonald, who changed his mind after giving Celtic a penalty: "It's another controversial decision against us."

United struggled to resist Celtic's repeated attacks, with Shaun Maloney, Anthony Stokes and Gary Hooper providing Georgios Samaras with admirable support in the final third of the pitch.

In addition, Glenn Loovens and Daniel Majstorovic offered a threat at set-pieces, Joe Ledley and Ki Sung-Yong were keen to test Dusan Pernis, and full-backs Emilio Izaguirre and Mark Wilson often found themselves in the United half.

But the home side were no pushovers, and David Goodwillie silenced the Celtic fans when his strike cancelled out Hooper's 13th-minute opener.

Lennon was delighted to see Hooper score his and Celtic's second in the final minute of normal time to give his team a record of played eight, won eight in the Scottish Premier League this season.

He said: "Dundee United put us under a bit of pressure for the first 10 minutes of the second half, but after that it was constant Celtic pressure.

"They kept going and kept believing in themselves.

"But for Pernis and the woodwork, it could have been more comfortable. It's as good a performance as I've seen from Celtic in a long, long time.

"It was wave after wave of attack and belief. I thought the football was very high calibre and it's a big three points going into next week's game (against Rangers)."

The Celtic boss was upset by McDonald's about-turn on his decision to award Celtic a 70th-minute penalty for an apparent foul by Pernis on Hooper.


Lennon remonstrated with the fourth official and was spoken to by the referee, who had changed his mind about the spot-kick after linesman Steven Craven indicated that Pernis had got a hand to the ball before felling the striker.

"The linesman took his position up as if it was a penalty," said Lennon.

"There was a long delay for some reason and the linesman says it's not a penalty.

"For me, it's another strange decision that has gone against us in the last six to eight months. The referee was adamant it was a penalty.

"If he has made the decision he shouldn't really have to be overturned by his linesman. It's very rare you see that happen.

"I thought Dougie had a far better position and look at it than the linesman."

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see also
Dundee United 1-2 Celtic
17 Oct 10 |  Scottish Premier

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