Neil Lennon says Celtic have not given up hope of SPL title

Neil Lennon
Lennon praised midfielder James Forrest who shone in a poor display.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has vowed to fight on in his bid for a first Scottish Premier League title, despite dropping points against Kilmarnock.

The Glasgow side were 3-0 to the Ayrshire outfit with 20 minutes remaining but fought back to earn a draw.

Rangers were then held to a draw by St Mirren, leading the Celtic boss to believe titles hopes are still alive.

"I'll turn it round. We will turn it round," he told BBC Radio Scotland.

Celtic had gone into the game 10 points behind Scottish Premier League leaders and reigning champions Rangers.

"We're not giving up - we'll just keep going and try to find a consistent run of wins," said Lennon.

"We'll have to turn it round very quickly. You can see that there's talent in the team and belief in the team, but we have to stop giving away silly goals.

"At 3-0, I said to the players at half time that we were shaming the club at the moment and they had to go out and show some pride in the shirt."

Goals from Dean Shiels, Paul Heffernan and James Fowler had put Kilmarnock ahead, but Celtic scored three times in the space of seven minutes to rescue some pride.

Anthony Stokes scored a brace after a frustrating first-half for the striker, with Charlie Mulgrew also making amends for the poor back-pass that led to Fowler's goal, by scoring a third with 10 minutes remaing.

"Once we got the goal, we always believed we could come back," Lennon told Sportsound.

"The players believed it as well. I'm very proud of the second half and disgusted with the first.

"I'm angry and proud of them at the same time. Our defending was abysmal in the first half.

"We didn't deal with straight long balls and, if we don't get the fundamentals of the game right, we're in trouble.

"We had a long chat with them at half time and got the response we were looking for. I had a 20-year-old kid out there who took the team by the scruff of the neck and dragged them through. James Forrest was immense today."

Lennon confirmed he will speak to chief executive Peter Lawwell about the club's interest in James McFadden in the next few days but believes his defence is the area that needs immediate attention.

"They were the best defence in the league last year," he added.

"We have three internationals in the back four but for some reason there was a nervousness about them.

"I don't know where that comes from, but we have to find the right balance and we have to do that as soon as we can. "

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