Scottish Cup: Neil Lennon offers no excuses for Celtic's defeat by Aberdeen
Celtic manager Neil Lennon admitted that Celtic threw in one of their worst displays of the season against Aberdeen.
Last Updated: 08/02/14 8:47pm
The holders got off to a flying start through Anthony Stokes but they never got out of second gear after that as Aberdeen gained full reward for an enterprising display, goals from Russell Anderson and Peter Pawlett taking them into the quarter-finals.
"Defensively and midfield-wise we were second best," Lennon said.
"We started the game well and then our passing was just so poor. We never really had a concerted period of pressure to work the Aberdeen goalkeeper.
"It's very difficult to single out any player with any credit - Stokes possibly and James (Forrest) maybe had a spark but the rest of the team were very flat.
"We prepared them so well and talked about set-pieces. We were really poor for the first goal, both centre-halves missed the header. And then we had an opportunity to clear and we duff it and got punished.
"That was symptomatic of our overall performance. We played like strangers at times and for relatively experienced players that's very disappointing. There was a lack of real hunger and dynamism.
"That is as poor as we have played for a long, long time. There was a flatness about our play today and I don't know where that has come from. It's in our DNA as a club - we want to defend the Cup.
"There was no excuse for today, that was a poor performance and we have to accept the criticism that will come our way."
"But you have got to give credit to Aberdeen, they came here with a game plan and it worked out well for them."
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes said: "The performance is something I know we are capable of so I'm probably prouder of the mindset.
"When you are the underdog, it's normally about reinforcing confidence and getting belief in the team but we didn't have to work too hard at that this week.
"I know with the demands of Celtic and their standards, people will maybe look at Celtic's failings, but I think we restricted them. We never allowed the game to be stretched, we never allowed their better players to affect the game too much.
"I have been here as a manager and a player when you feel as if you are hanging in and I never felt that today. Even when it was 1-1, it was about what we can do to win the game. More importantly, the players believed they could go and win it, and that's brilliant to see."