Celtic manager Neil Lennon hails Samaras performance

Georgios Samaras
Samaras was key to Celtic's victory at McDiarmid Park

Celtic manager Neil Lennon singled out the performance of Georgios Samaras in the 2-0 win at St Johnstone in the Scottish Premier League.

The Greece international was in form during a goalless first-half then set up Celtic's second goal in Perth.

"He was brilliant, as was Hooper and Forrest in the second half," Lennon told BBC Scotland.

"I don't like singling people out, but Samaras brings something different to the team. We need players like that."

The win was Celtic's seventh league victory in succession and Lennon insists that, despite widespread criticism of Samaras earlier in the season, the Greek has demonstrated he is central to the club's recent success.

"He's proven his character this season," said Lennon.

"People were pointing the finger at him, saying he was lazy, but I've seen a different character.

"I'm pleased he's shown a level of consistency that's doing him justice.

"It was magnificent from start to finish. We dominated the first half and their keeper kept them in it to keep the score at 0-0.

"In the second half, we just seemed to find another level.

"The second goal was world class. It's something we've been trying to do on the counter attack for a while."

Ki Sung-Yeung rounded off a fruitful afternoon for Lennon at McDiarmid Park with a well-worked strike after Gary Hooper had stabbed home a second-half opener.

The win puts Celtic back to within four points of Rangers at the top of the table and Lennon believes his players have regained the form that was present in last season's performances.

"I could go through the whole team and there's not one failure," said Lennon, who stuck by the side who drew with Udinese in the Europa League in midweek.

"Coming off the back of Thursday, they're really in the groove.

"We've now got seven wins in a row, which breeds a lot of confidence, but the belief is there as well.

"They've found the form of last season earlier than they did last year.

"We've got players to come back into the fray, but St Johnstone are a difficult side to break down, they've had a good start to the season.

"They've had some adverse results, but at home it's always hard here.

"To play as well and create the chances we did, it's very pleasing."