Neil Lennon: Celtic boss says he had 'choice words' with players after Scottish Premiership loss to St Mirren

Celtic's 2-1 loss to St Mirren on January 30 was the Hoops' first home loss to Saints since April 1990; Neil Lennon described the defeat as "the lowest point" of his two spells as Parkhead boss; watch St Mirren vs Celtic live on Sky Sports Football and Main Event on Wednesday; kick-off 8pm

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 06: Neil Lennon, Manager of Celtic reacts during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and Motherwell at Celtic Park on February 06, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Image: Neil Lennon is happier with the "energy and body language" of his Celtic players

Neil Lennon revealed "a few choice words" after Celtic's recent defeat to St Mirren elicited the response required ahead of the rematch.

The Hoops boss described the 2-1 Scottish Premiership defeat by the Buddies on January 30 - Celtic's first home loss to Saints since April 1990 - as "the lowest point" of his two spells as Parkhead boss.

The Celtic manager let his players know the extent of his disappointment and they responded with back-to-back wins for the first time this year against Kilmarnock and Motherwell, albeit they still remain 21 points behind league leaders Rangers with two games in hand.

Lennon is happier with the "energy and body language" of his players and is looking for their form to continue against Jim Goodwin's men in Paisley on Wednesday night, live on Sky Sports Football.

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"The previous two performances have been very good," said the Northern Irishman, who revealed midfielder Ismaila Soro will be assessed after crashing his car due to weather conditions on Tuesday morning.

"It is difficult to put my finger on the performance against St Mirren. We just didn't seem to have that zip about us at all and we lacked concentration at times as well.

"I had a few choice words, that was all. I told them I was bitterly disappointed.

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"I haven't had to do that many times in my second spell (as boss) and I've had a good reaction so far.

"Obviously the game has come around quickly and I am looking for a far better performance than we got at Celtic Park and build on the two recent performances."

Lennon is cognisant of the challenges presented to his players by life during the Covid-19 crisis.

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Highlights of Celtic's 2-1 home defeat by St Mirren in the Scottish Premiership on January 30

The former Celtic captain said: "It is a huge balancing act. When I said I had some choice words, that was to the group, as a collective, not to any particular individual.

"We reminded them of their responsibilities and that the performance was unacceptable.

"The bottom line is that is my job and when they fall below the standards we set, you have to give them a jag now and again."

Soro, missed a large part of the training session following the snow-affected incident with his car but the 22-year-old Ivorian should be OK for Wednesday.

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Neil Lennon says Ismalia Soro could miss Celtic's game with St Mirren after being involved in a minor car accident but James Forrest has returned to training

Lennon said: "Soro had a prang in his car this morning due to the adverse weather conditions. He looks OK.

"We are just checking on him, making sure he is alright. He missed a large part of the session."

Lennon welcomed back winger James Forrest to training following his recovery from ankle surgery, having last played in September away to Riga.

He said: "Jamesy Forrest is back in training but obviously tomorrow night is too soon for him. So that's a welcome boost to the squad.

"Shane Duffy had a bit of a bug in the last couple of days but trained today so he should be available for selection. Ryan Christie is fit and back in the squad as well."

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