Lennon believes Celtic will be different proposition in cup final

Neil Lennon believes Celtic will be a different proposition in Sunday’s Betfred Cup final after it took a last-gasp goal from skipper Scott Brown to beat Hamilton 2-1 at Parkhead.

The Hoops boss did not enjoy what he watched as his side struggled despite taking the lead through Ryan Christie in the first half.

Accies substitute Marios Ogkmpoe stunned Celtic Park when he levelled in the last minute.

However, there was more drama to follow in the three added minutes when Brown drove into the Hamilton box and fired in the winner.

With Rangers letting slip a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Aberdeen at Pittodrie, Lennon’s side are now two points clear of the Light Blues at the top of the table ahead of their meeting at Hampden Park on Sunday.

“I didn’t enjoy it,” said the Northern Irishman, who revealed Odsonne Edouard and all the other players battling back from injury will be assessed on Thursday.

“Yesterday, you guys were all asking me about the cup final.

“There is no doubt subconsciously that would have played on the minds of some of them going into the game tonight, you could feel it around the stadium as well.

“We were flat at times and then the psychology towards the end when we looked a bit tired and that’s mental fatigue not physical.

“And then the psychology of the game again, they equalise and then we come to life again and get the goal from Scott.

“It is a huge goal, it keeps the momentum going. That’s 11 wins in a row, we are top of the league and we rested some players.

“You will see a different team on Sunday, mentally and physically, no question of that and that is just natural going in to a cup final.”

Accies boss Brian Rice believed referee Alan Muir missed a foul in the build-up to Celtic’ winner.

He said: “It’s an angry dressing because the boys feel we should have got something.

“Celtic are the champions and keep going until the 93rd minute but you saw a Hamilton team that were hungry.

“There are positives but I would rather have points and I don’t want to see pity in the dressing room.

“It might seem strange being disappointed but we deserved something from the game.

“A couple of decisions didn’t go our way either.

“The general consensus in the dressing was that it was a push from Leigh Griffiths on young Sam Stubbs.

“But I am not here to talk about referees, it’s done and dusted. Some go for you, some go against you.

“Did I speak to the ref? No. I have known Alan Muir for a long, long time but I don’t speak to him after games.”

Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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