Celtic begin campaign with Inverness victory

Neil Lennon’s Celtic team kept their first clean sheet since the summer break with a 1-0 win at Inverness.
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Neil Lennon’s Celtic team kept their first clean sheet since the summer break with a 1-0 win at Inverness.

Paddy McCourt netted a superb winner during a dominant second-half display.

Lennon lauded McCourt, who emphatically seized his opportunity in the wake of Aiden McGeady's £9.5million switch to Spartak Moscow.

"It took a piece of individual brilliance to win the game," Lennon said. "That's what the boy can do and it's not the first time he's done it.

"He is just a wonderful talent. I'm really annoyed with Shaun Maloney because, as he has got up to celebrate, Shaun has run into him and he's got whiplash. That was Paddy's participation finished after scoring a goal like that.

"It was fantastic. I kept saying 'go on, Paddy, shoot, shoot'. His feet are so quick in tight areas and his balance and the way he sways his hips, and his finish, to stretch and finish with power... it was going to take a wonderful goal to beat Ryan Esson because he made some wonderful saves."

Lennon, who revealed McCourt would recover in about three days, added: "After the initial 30 minutes we got a grip on the game and the second-half performance was excellent.

"We were a bit wasteful in front of goal to say the least but the fact we created good chances was very, very pleasing."

Inverness boss Terry Butcher struggled to understand what went wrong after his side dominated the opening stages before being overrun after the break.

"I'm bitterly disappointed with the second 45 minutes because the first was very good," Butcher said.

"We were very pleased at half-time and wanted more of that and we didn't get anything.

"It was like I made 10 substitutions. Ryan Esson was magnificent and kept us in the game, although we didn't deserve to be in the game at that point because Celtic dominated possession in the second half.

"I don't know where the second half came from. We will analyse it to see where it all went wrong."

 
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