After Celtic’s 1-0 loss to Rangers, Neil Lennon declined to accept the Scottish Premier League crown, leaving them 19 points behind their Old Firm rivals. In the first half, the champions dominated and struggled to clear Gers keeper Allan McGregor until the game turned in the 63rd minute when referee Bobby Madden sent Hoops defender Nir Bitton off to catch Gers striker Alfredo Morelos.
Despite having played three games more than the champions, who are searching for their tenth consecutive Premiership win, Celtic’s stand-in captain Callum McGregor shot the ball from a corner into his own net to put the Light Blues 19 points clear. Parkhead manager Lennon acknowledged that his side now had “a lot to do” but said they would press on. “It hurts because we were the dominant team. We played brilliantly and I don’t think it was a red card. “It gave Rangers a little hope, obviously, and they were lucky with the score. “I don’t think they had a go, so it shows how well we played, even with 10 men. “We’re bitterly disappointed we didn’t get away with anything. I felt that we deserved a great deal more. Now we have a lot to do. We came here to win, and that’s how we played. We’re disappointed, but not with the results, with the decision and the outcome. “We have a lot to do now. We came here to win, and that’s how we played. We’re disappointed with the decision and the result, but not the performance. ” We looked confident, fast, strong. We were the dominant team by far, and then we came out empty-handed. Often that happens in soccer. I don’t think today we have what we deserve. “That happens in soccer sometimes. I don’t think we got what we deserved today. ” You can’t just say it’s over, because you still have a lot of football to play. “We have to be much more consistent in the second half of the season than we were in the first. “In the second half, I can’t say what’s going to happen, but we have to keep playing like this, keep being consistent, keep winning games, and keep putting as much pressure as we can. After the game, Lennon did not talk to Madden about the red card, but was disappointed with the decision and its consequences. “Lennon didn’t speak to Madden about the red card after the game, but was unhappy with the decision and its implications. ” I figured he was too fast to be able to get a red card. “It’s bad of Nir, but it’s not a red card and it changed the course of the game. In the last derbies everyone said Rangers were the better team, but I think today we were the better team. We made them look laboured at times and were in a good mood. Allan McGregor was named man of the match, which speaks well for our performance. “Undoubtedly, the sending off had a big effect on the game. We had to change the form and workers that we didn’t want to do. The longer the game went on, the more we felt we were going to win the game, not lose it.”