UPDATED: FROM NEIL DOHERTY AT CELTIC PARK: CELTIC saw off Inverness Caley Thistle by the narrowest of margins today to restore their four point lead in the SPL over Rangers who had won their lunchtime clash with Dunfermline 4-1.
Joe Ledley’s 16th-minute tap-in after a some wonderful play from wonderkid proved the difference this afternoon in Neil Lennon’s 100th game in charge.
Charlie Mulgrew could have a couple more before Majstorovic was shown a red card for a disputed 60th-minute challenge on Jonny Hayes.
Everyone thought this would be the day the long run of 16 straight wins would come to an end as Caley tried to take advantage of the extra man.
The visitors had a great chance to level the game when Gnakpa fired into the side-netting after being found by Williams – much to the annoyance of two teammates waiting in front of goal.
But Thistle’s Steve Williams was sent off 17 minutes later and with player parity restored, Celtic held on to record win number 17.
Unfortunately the media are now wondering if Neil can match Martin O’Neill’s 25 wins in a row (defeat almost certainly follows when that happens, so fingers crossed if you are superstitious like me).
“That might stand a long, long time, that record,” said Lennon.
“At any level of football that is some record.
“But these guys now, what they’ve done is fantastic for such a young team.”
He was however unhappy about the sending off.
“I thought that until the sending-off we were pretty good, particularly going forward,” he said.
“I thought that Inverness made a good contribution to the game and worked very hard, but my goalkeeper hasn’t had a save to make.
“The sending-off changed the game, it gave Inverness a chance to get on the front foot, but I thought we were tremendous.
“It’s one of the best wins on this run and I thought there were huge performances today from Charlie Mulgrew, Joe Ledley, Scott Brown, Georgios Samaras, James Forrest and Victor Wanyama so I’m absolutely thrilled with that and thrilled with the win.
“The only thing that annoyed me was that when they go down to 10 men they should still believe they can be positive in the game, because we’ve got so much talent and running power in the team.
“I was just worried that they might have got a little bit negative, but credit to them, they’ve kept going and we’ve had a great result. It was a really tough game.
“Daniel claims it was a good tackle. To me, it looks OK on the angle from the TV replays.
“How the linesman can give that decision is beyond me. I know Terry Butcher’s critical of the referee today – and I’m not altogether happy with his performance either – but I don’t think he got much help from either of his linesmen.”