Neil Lennon says Celtic must tighten up as Kris Boyd urges champions to work harder

Neil Lennon was again dismayed by Celtic’s defending in the 3-3 draw with Aberdeen, while Sky Sports’ Kris Boyd insists the champions need to work harder.

The Hoops went into the game at Pittodrie off the back of losing 2-1 at home to Rangers last weekend and 3-1 to AC Milan at Celtic Park on Thursday night and they fell behind to a Lewis Ferguson penalty just before the interval.

A spectacular second half ensued with Callum McGregor leveling before Ryan Hedges restored the home side’s lead. Hoops substitute Leigh Griffiths equalised with a drive in the 75th minute and Ryan Christie scored with a penalty two minutes later but Derek McInnes’ men were awarded a second penalty in added time and Ferguson was again on the mark.

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“I was disappointed not to come away with all three points,” Lennon said. “When you score three goals away from home, you think you are going to win the game.

“I think there is a little bit of fragility with a few of them, not playing with a major amount of confidence but again plenty of positives. The response second half was tremendous but we need to tidy up defensively.

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“That’s eight goals in three games, it’s not good enough.

“In the main, I was satisfied, particularly with the second-half performance but defensively we need to do a lot better,” he added.

“There is still a long way to go. The players had a tough week, we could have played better. We will improve, there is no question of that, I’m confident of that and we will get players back from Covid and injuries.

“So there is a long way to go, defensively we are making too many individual mistakes and collective mistakes and that is not on the goalkeeper, Scott Bain was very good today.”

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Edouard, Bitton close to return

Bain took over from regular number one Vasilis Barkas who has a back injury which will be assessed before the Europa League clash with Lille on Thursday night.

Lennon revealed that French striker Odsonne Edouard and Israel defender Nir Bitton, both missing with Covid issues along with Hatem Elhamed, are on their way back.

He said: “We will see how Odsonne and Nir are, hopefully they will join training tomorrow so hopefully they will be available.

“Elhamed is back tomorrow but obviously he will be another week or so.”

‘Hard work needed for Celtic’

Sky Sports’ Kris Boyd:

“Hard work. There’s no getting away from it. Whatever way you look at it, the only way you can turn around results is by working hard on your opponents, and things will happen.

“I know Neil Lennon mentioned a few players, but there were a lot of other ones, and you can include Tom Rogic in this, he was walking about in stages here, and for Celtic right now, they don’t need that. They need players that are going to work their socks off from the first minute to the last minute.

“There’s no magic wand in football. You work harder than the opponents and nine times out of 10 you’ll get results.

“When you look at Celtic, and Neil has said it himself, they’ve got better quality than everybody else in the league. When you’ve got that and talent works hard, it will win games of football.

“But, as it stands right now, it’s not happening and when you add in the mistakes that are happening defensively, when you make mistakes in this league you will be punished, and that’s what’s happening right now.”

‘Celtic lacking in confidence’

Former Celtic and Aberdeen midfielder Paul Hartley on Sky Sports:

“In terms of the attacking side of things, there were a lot of positives. There was some good play at times. They scored some really good goals.

“It’s at the other end of the pitch that will concern them. McGregor spoke about working on shape and defending, but they didn’t defend well enough.

“You’ve got to give Aberdeen credit for putting them under pressure, but there was some basic stuff they didn’t do well.

“It’s hard to put you finger on why it’s happening. I think you have to get back on the training pitch and work away at it.

“It’s just not happening for them at the moment. They are a little bit short of confidence and the best place for them is to get out on the training pitch and work away at it.”

McInnes: We deserved something

Meanwhile, Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes admits he could not have stood to have come away from the game with nothing.

“If we hadn’t got something from that game it would have been an absolute travesty,” he said

“We were so good in the second half for long spells. We have had late winners against us on a couple of occasions, not just here but at Celtic Park as well against Celtic.

“You get a few pats on the back and plaudits for your efforts and putting up a good show and all that sort of nonsense and I couldn’t have been doing with that today.

“We needed to get something from that game and I was glad we got something from the game, no more than we deserved.”

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