sport

Lennon hails Celtic response

Celtic manager Neil Lennon was delighted with his side's second-half display as they recorded a 3-0 win at Kilmarnock.

The game at Rugby Park was goalless at half-time but Kris Commons claimed a second-half hat-trick as Celtic extended their advantage over second-placed Aberdeen to 24 points.

"I'm thrilled with that second half. We had good energy and quality. It's as good as we've played away from home for a wee while now," he said.

"The second half was sensational, I can't speak highly enough of the team. Commons is a master finisher and Scott Brown was simply awesome.

"We needed the goals. We were a bit slack in the final third first half, but there was a real pizazz about us second half. We don't want to crawl over the line. We want to do it with a bit of style."

Commons admitted it had needed a half-time rocket from Lennon to get the players to shake off their lethargy and go on to claim the win.

"We were told to up the tempo," he said. "I think we got in good areas with good possession, but it kept breaking down and the front three weren't quite clicking first half.

"But we had a bit of a kick up the backside and we soon got into our flow, tired them out. There was a lot of space to exploit and lucky for us we got on the end of it.

"It would be nice to be crowned champions again but we're looking to get as many goals as possible and looking to get into the 100 points as well.

"So there's plenty of incentives right until the end of the season and I think we're going to carry that sort of form right until the last game."

Kilmarnock manager Allan Johnston added: "I think 3-0 flatters Celtic. We competed for long spells and there were a lot of good performances but it's a learning curve for our young players."

The home side's chairman Michael Johnston announced before kick-off he had struck a deal to wipe out the Ayrshire side's 9.4m debts and Johnston welcomed the news.

"It's fantastic and gives the whole club a major lift," he added. "Now we just need to get it right on the park and get ourselves out of this position we are in."