Lennon - We were better team
Neil Lennon thought Celtic could have beaten Rangers despite playing more than half of the 2-2 draw with 10 men.
Last Updated: 06/02/11 5:19pm
Celtic boss Neil Lennon thought his side could have beaten Old Firm rivals Rangers - despite playing more than half of the 2-2 draw with 10 men.
Bhoys keeper Fraser Forster was dismissed after 39 minutes of the Scottish Cup fifth round tie when he clumsily hauled down Rangers' Steven Naismith.
Steven Whittaker punished Celtic even further by smashing home the resulting penalty before the away side battled back to earn a replay.
But Lennon refused to argue against Forster's sending off or the penalty decision.
He said: "I thought we were the better team.
"Second half, even down to 10 men, we were brilliant. On the balance of the football played today there was only one team trying to win it.
"I've got no complaints about the penalty or red card.
"I thought the referee called it right and we had to regroup a little bit. We had a chat at half time and the players really believe in themselves at the moment.
"We went out and took the game by the scruff of the neck and played some wonderful football."
Lennon's decision to introduce Greek striker Georgios Samaras from the bench midway through the second half paid dividends as it helped Celtic battle back for a second time.
However, it could have been even better with fit-again Samaras wrongly flagged offside when in a threatening position late on.
Lennon said: "It was a difficult choice not to start him but he's not played for four weeks and missed a couple of training sessions.
"But his performance was excellent and he gives you something a bit different."
On the Samaras offside decision, he added: "From where I was it was a fantastic run and the timing of the pass was first class. From where I was stood he looked well onside."
Celtic skipper Scott Brown, who bagged the all-important second equaliser, said his team were disappointed not to claim victory.
He added: "We had a lot of possession with 10 men when they had 11. But overall we'll take 2-2 and take them back to Celtic Park.
"Hopefully we'll be there as favourites."