Celtic have momentum ahead of derby, says manager Neil Lennon

Georgios Samaras and Neil Lennon
Lennon (right) congratulates goalscorer Samaras

Manager Neil Lennon described Celtic's 2-1 win over Kilmarnock as "a huge day" for his side ahead of Wednesday's Old Firm clash.

The victory coupled with Rangers' defeat to St Mirren means the Ibrox side are now only a point ahead of Celtic ahead of the derby.

"Momentum is with us," Lennon told BBC Radio Scotland.

"It's eight wins in a row and I can't speak highly enough of the performances of the players in that period of time."

Georgios Samaras headed Celtic ahead just before the interval and fired a second before Danny Racchi's late reply for Killie.

"We were comfortable in the game for 87 minutes and then we concede a goal but that happens in football," said Lennon.

"Overall, I am absolutely delighted with the players at the minute. Obviously, results elsewhere went our way so we're right in there now.

"It's gone for us today but it can change again very quickly. People say anything can happen in an Old Firm game. We're not getting complacent.

"The players are feeling good about themselves.

"We've got Samaras playing consistently well. I'm delighted he scored a header, I've been waiting on him doing that for quite a while and his second goal was a great finish, great work from Gary Hooper.

"We've won eight in a row and now we want to go nine in a row. The fact of the matter is that we're playing Rangers on the 28th and if we win the game, we know we'll go top, if we lose the game it's a four-point gap again so there's a lot at stake."

Before that top of the table encounter, however, the players have Christmas Day to contend with.

"You can't really enjoy it because you've got such a massive game looming and it's just part and parcel of professional football that the Christmas period is a very busy time for us," added Lennon.

"I've told the players 'enjoy your day with your family, rest up but look after yourselves and concentrate fully on Wednesday now'."

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