Georgios Samaras set tone for great win - Neil Lennon

Alan Thompson and Neil Lennon congratulate Dylan McGeough
Alan Thompson and Neil Lennon congratulate Dylan McGeough on his first Celtic goal

Neil Lennon credited striker Georgios Samaras for setting Celtic on their way to a 5-0 win over St Mirren.

Samaras scored the first goal and after the game the Celtic manager said: "He set the tone for the game.

"He got his goal, which we've been waiting on a long time. His play was fantastic. He is a talent and all we are asking for is consistency.

"He has shown everyone today what he is capable of when he is in full flow. The rest took a leaf from his book."

Samaras's early opener was followed by the first of three from Gary Hooper, the English striker finishing off a move created by the Greek.

Hooper added another two goals after the break but he and Samaras will not hog all the headlines - Celtic's fifth goal was the product of a great piece of skill by sub Dylan McGeouch, who scored his first goal for the first team.

"To score a debut goal like that - he might not get a better one in his career," Lennon told BBC Scotland.

"It was a great team performance, from my goalkeeper right through to my third substitute coming on - magnificent goals, work ethic, passing, attacking play and very good defensively.

"I'm delighted, absolutely thrilled with the players today."

Hooper was outstanding for Celtic last season but has blown hot and cold this term. His hat-trick against St Mirren, though, puts him on nine Scottish Premier League goals this season, level with Rangers pair Nikica Jelavic and Steven Naismith.

Lennon added: "We decided to leave him out for a couple of games. I was critical of him and Stokesy [Anthony Stokes] after the Hibs game because I felt we needed more out of the two of them.

"But they have come back from that emphatically. These kids don't hide away. They come out and say 'I'm going to show you' and that is what I am looking for.

Interview - Celtic manager Neil Lennon

"Hooper was absolutely brilliant today."

The win means Celtic are now four points off leaders Rangers at the top of the SPL, with Ally McCoist's side travelling to Kilmarnock to play their game in hand on Sunday.

"Winning breeds confidence," said the manager.

"I have never questioned their commitment, just their consistency, and now we have found a level of consistency.

"Daniel [Majstorovic], who was in and out at the start of the season, has been magnificent in the last month. That is the sort of leadership qualities we have been looking for and he is a real influence on the squad now.

"All of a sudden Celtic Park is becoming a bit of an intimidating place to come to again, which is exactly what I want."

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