Celtic taking nothing for granted
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Celtic manager Neil Lennon says he is taking nothing for granted despite his side's emphatic 3-0 win against Rangers that puts the Hoops in pole position to regain the league title from their Old Firm rivals.

The win - thanks to two goals by Gary Hooper and a beauty by Kris Commons - gives Celtic an eight point lead over their Old Firm rivals at the top of the Scottish Premier League, albeit Rangers have two games in hand but a significantly worse goal difference.

Rookie manager Lennon, who was appointed boss at the beginning of the season, hasn't tasted defeat since November in a run that has included two Old Firm victories in 2011 and Sunday's was the biggest win for Celtic over Rangers since November 2005 when Lennon played for them.

But despite this Lennon, who as a player was part of a Celtic side that twice lost league championships on the final day of the season, refuses to get carried away. "Other people might see it as a pivotal day but we're more than pleased as that was emphatic. However, there are still 12 or 13 games to go in the season," Lennon said.

We went to Ibrox in 2005 and won with only six or seven games left and still lost the league... Until I get my hands on the trophy I won't take it for granted it's done.
Celtic manager Neil Lennon

"We went to Ibrox in 2005 and won with only six or seven games left and still lost the league so there's still a lot of football left to be played. Until I get my hands on the trophy I won't take it for granted it's done.

"This was a big day in the context of the season and it will give the players a huge lift because Rangers are a good team but we played very well in all departments. It gives us an eight point lead. I know Rangers have two games in hand and if they win those games it's two points but for the first time in a while we are in charge again and it's in our hands and not theirs.

"It gives us a bit of a psychological edge but psychology doesn't win titles. Walter's (Smith the Rangers manager) very experienced and he'll be hurting I'm sure. The one thing I'm sure he'll get from his players is a big reaction. He's still the master. He's got seven or eight league titles under his belt and he's made a massive contribution to Scottish football and this league is far from over yet."

Smith said the defeat had been a culmination of a collection of poor performances from his side since the turn of the year. The two sides will clash a further three times this season, although only once in the league, and Smith admits his side need to find some better form if they are to triumph in his final season as manager of the Ibrox side.

"We didn't play well at all in any aspect of the game really," he said. "Our defending was poor, our possession was poor and all-in-all it was as poor as a performance we've had against Celtic since I got back to the club so we deserved no better than we got.

"I don't think you can say our team lacks a bit of belief or character considering they have been doing reasonably well over the past few years. I think everybody is inclined to look at the Old Firm game but I don't think we've been playing that well since the turn of the year.

"We've been patchy in our form although we have maybe managed to win some of the games. From our own point of view we need to look to get a better level and better consistency about us.

"The final Old Firm game at Ibrox will obviously take on importance if we can gain a level of consistency and if Celtic can keep the consistency they have shown at the present moment. We're going to have to try and search for something that will give us a lift for the remaining part of the season."