Lennon: Celtic will be hard to stop
Celtic manager Neil Lennon says his side will be hard to stop after watching the Hoops demolish Aberdeen 4-1 at Hampden Park to clinch a spot in the League Cup final.
The Scottish giants followed on from their 4-0 thrashing of third-placed Hearts in midweek with a dominant first-half performance that saw them net four times in the opening 33 minutes of yesterday's tie.
The win sets up a potential Old Firm final if Rangers can overcome Motherwell in today's other semi-final and keeps Celtic, who sit five points clear at the top of the Scottish Premier League and face the Gers in a Scottish Cup fifth round tie next weekend, on course for a domestic treble.
And Lennon, who will lead his team out for the first time as a manager in a national final in March, believes the momentum behind his side will take some stopping. "We followed on from where we left off on Wednesday night and if they can maintain that sort of form we are going to be hard to stop," the Celtic boss said.
But despite a first-half performance that the Celtic manager described as the best he had seen from his side at Hampden, Lennon admitted he still had a go at his players for taking their foot off the pedal in the second-half.
"We were disappointed with the goal but you can't have everything and it's been a good day," he said. "I told them at half-time to maintain their standards but that's pretty difficult when you are 4-0 up. I just wanted them to win the second-half and that would have been a brilliant performance.
"I had a bit of a go at them after the game but that's just me. You have to remember what you were like as a player. When you're so comfortable and so far ahead in the game psychologically at times it's difficult to maintain that sort of intensity in your play. It's hard to pick up the tempo, especially the tempo that we set in the first-half which was fantastic."
Kris Commons, who signed for the Hoops from Derby County on Friday, opened the floodgates in the sixth minute with a chipped shot from 20 yards, before headers from Charlie Mulgrew and Thomas Rogne put Celtic 3-0 up with just 20 minutes gone. Derek Young used his hand to block an Anthony Stokes free-kick in the box in the 34th minute and the Irishman converted the spot-kick as Celtic ran riot.
Aberdeen improved after the break with Scott Vernon netting a consolation goal on the hour mark but their 11-year wait to make a national final continues.
Celtic beat rivals Rangers to the signing of Commons and manager Lennon said the forward showed why there was such competition for his talents. "I thought that everyone saw the attributes that he has. He scored a goal which we know he is capable of doing and he was a constant thorn in Aberdeen's side," he said. "He was very intelligent with the ball and he can pick a pass. He's got good feet and can go by people. He linked up very well with Izaguirre and defensively he did his job for us."