Lennon thrilled with Hoops win
Neil Lennon described Celtic's win as a 'miracle' as his injury-ravaged side claimed a morale-boasting victory over Rennes.
By Soriebah Kajue
Last Updated: 03/11/11 11:11pm
Neil Lennon described Celtic's win as a 'miracle' as his injury-ravaged side claim a morale-boosting win over Rennes in the Europa League.
Lennon was dealt more bad news before the game following the announcement Mark Wilson would be out for three months after his knee surgery.
He will join Charlie Mulgrew, Joe Ledley and Ki Sung-yueng in the treatment room while Thomas Rogne did not feature as he is not registered.
Lennon's injury list gained a new casualty when Glenn Loovens picked up a hamstring strain and had to be replaced by teenage defender Marcus Fraser.
However, after Rennes skipper Kader Mangane had given the visitors a second-minute lead, Anthony Stokes struck with a first-half double and a late strike from substitute Gary Hooper sealed the win which takes Celtic to within two points of the top of the group with two games remaining.
A delighted Lennon said: "It was a wonderful team performance, a miracle really.
"With the absentees we had and losing Glenn at half-time was a blow, but young Marcus Fraser came on and did brilliantly.
"Some players really did their bit for the team tonight, (Georgios) Samaras, (Anthony) Stokes, (Beram) Kayal and (Victor) Wanyama were amazing and young Adam Matthews at left-back had a stormer.
"(Daniel) Majstorovic was a brick wall in the second half, he was on the end of everything that came into the box and our keeper (Fraser) Forster made some good saves when he needed to.
"As a team they showed real belief in themselves and I am very, very proud of them tonight."
Lennon, who revealed Loovens will have a scan and is likely to miss the game against Motherwell at Fir Park on Sunday, had special praise for 17-year-old Fraser.
"The injuries keep piling up for us," said the former Celtic skipper.
"Rennes put a really strong team out so to perform as well as they did under those circumstances was fantastic.
"Loovens battled onto half-time but he couldn't raise a gallop so we had to make a change.
"We didn't want to change the shape of the team at half-time so that is why Marcus came on.
"We brought Stevie Frail (youth coach) down at half-time for a chat.
"Young Joe Chalmers was there as well and he might have given us balance with the left foot but Stevie just thought that Marcus might handle the occasion better.
"He had a game in Bilbao last year in a friendly in front of 40,000 and had a great game so to come on and play as well as he did is a credit to him and to the academy for the players that they are producing."
Celtic find themselves two points behind Atletico Madrid with the Spanish side set to visit Parkhead later this month.
"We had to win the game tonight and that puts us in with a chance," said Lennon.
"If you think of the penalty decision that went against us against Udinese here then we could be sitting level with Atletico.
"We have equipped ourselves well and have improved in every game but we will need more of the same when Atletico come in a few weeks."