CELTIC boss Neil Lennon made a startling revelation after Scott Brown’s dramatic stoppage-time strike that gave the champions a 2-1 victory over Hamilton Accies at Parkhead last night.
“I didn’t enjoy it,” said the Hoops boss, speaking to Sky Sports News only minutes after his team went two points clear at the top of the Premiership with Rangers blowing a two-goal lead to settle for a 2-2 draw with Aberdeen at Pittodrie.
Lennon was made to sweat after Ryan Christie’s 17th goal of the season had been cancelled by Accies’ Marios Ogkmpoe in the 90th minute.
However, with the minutes ticking down, Brown produced a moment of individual enterprise as he dragged the ball into the penalty area and slotted an angled drive low past Luke Southwood into the far corner.
The Irishman admitted: “Yesterday, you guys were all asking me about the Cup Final. There is no doubt subconsciously that would have played on the minds of some of them going into the game, you could feel it around the stadium, as well.
“We were flat at times and then the psychology towards the end when we looked a bit tired and that’s mental fatigue not physical. And then the psychology of the game again, they equalise and then we come to life again and get the goal from Scott.
“It is a huge goal, it keeps the momentum going. That’s 11 wins in a row, we are top of the league and we rested some players. You will see a different team on Sunday, mentally and physically, no question of that, and that is just natural going in to a Cup Final.”
Accies boss Brian Rice said: “It’s an angry dressing room because the boys feel we should have got something.
“Celtic are the champions and keep going until the 93rd minute, but you saw a Hamilton team that were hungry. There are positives, but I would rather have points and I don’t want to see pity in the dressing room.
“It might seem strange being disappointed, but we deserved something from the game. A couple of decisions didn’t go our way, either. The general consensus in the dressing room was that it was a push from Leigh Griffiths on young Sam Stubbs.
“But I am not here to talk about referees, it’s done and dusted. Some go for you, some go against you. Did I speak to the ref? No. I have known Alan Muir for a long, long time, but I don’t speak to him after games.”
Lennon rested Christopher Jullien and Tom Rogic against the Lanarkshire outfit while Jeremie Frimpong came on as a late substitute for James Forrest.
Mikey Johnston replaced Olivier Ntcham on the hour mark and the substitute was unfortunate when he struck the post with a right-footed drive from 12 yards.
It’s the second time the Hoops have beaten Accies by a solitary goal in this campaign following Forrest’s lone strike in September.