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Celtic in Champions League form - four days late

Updated: 2013-02-18 08:06
By Agence France-Presse in Glasgow ( China Daily)

Celtic manager Neil Lennon hailed his side after it bounced back from its disappointing Champions League defeat to Juventus with a 6-2 thrashing of Dundee United.

The Hoops' hopes of reaching the last eight of Europe's elite competition were all but ended last Tuesday as the Italian league leader left Glasgow with a 3-0 advantage ahead of the return leg in two weeks' time.

But the Glasgow giant responded in excellent fashion as it came from behind at Celtic Park to score six past United for the first time in 44 years and extend its lead at the top of the Scottish Premier League to 18 points over Motherwell, who moved second with a 3-0 win over Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

Celtic in Champions League form - four days late

"It was a fantastic performance," Lennon said. "There is never a good time to play us but after Tuesday night there was an angry team out there.

"I think off the back of Tuesday the players obviously wanted to put in a strong performance. That's not easy and they were hurting but they've picked themselves up very well and some of the football going forward was fantastic.

"We scored six goals but it could have been a lot more really. There was no disgrace in losing to Juventus. I think some of the fallout after the game was typically over the top.

"I thought for long periods of the game on Tuesday we were very good against an excellent side top-heavy with quality, experienced international players. Yet we felt the scoreline didn't reflect the performance and I said that to the players and they have gone out there and played like a Champions League team today.

"I know I've got a good team here and I just want them to keep going out there and showing it.

"We've built the team from nothing really and they've gone out and shown that kind of performance."

Lennon made a point of singling out EfeAmbrose and KrisCommons for praise and said there were no problems between the pair despite the latter criticizing the defender's part in Celtic's Champions League defeat.

"There should be special praise for Ambrose as he showed great character today," Lennon said.

"I thought he and Commons were exceptional today in spite of all the talk beforehand, so it shows that the dressing room is unified."

Irish striker Anthony Stokes scored a double in only his second start of the season after an injury-plagued start to the campaign.

(China Daily 02/18/2013 page23)

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