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Wednesday 13 December 2017

Hateley 'tainted title' claim is cheap shot -- Lennon

Neil Lennon won't let anyone detract from Celtic's imminent title triumph.

A 17-match winning run has turned a 15-point deficit into a 20-point lead over Rangers with the Ibrox side picking up a 10-point penalty for going into administration.

Former Rangers striker Mark Hateley got a piece of Lennon's mind after claiming that it would be a tainted triumph for the Hoops with the Celts boss determined to savour his side's triumph.

"I can't emphasise enough what a tremendous effort this has been by the players," he said after Gary Hooper's 20th goal of the season was enough to see off Motherwell on Saturday.

"We're not interested in what other people think, it's there in black and white. People can make their own assessments on things, we're not bringing the other scenario (Rangers' points deduction) into the equation.

"We're just concentrating on what we're doing. Runs like this come once in a career, you want to keep it going for as long as you can, particularly at home.

"We weren't at our brilliant best (today) but some of our attacking play in the second half was top drawer and it was a wonderful goal.

"Twenty wins in a row in all competitions is fantastic consistency at any level of football, teams really want to take our scalp but we're handling it very well."

Lennon is selective with the critics that he takes to task, with Hateley's claims too ridiculous for him to ignore.

The former Rangers and England striker accused Lennon and Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell of gloating at Rangers' problems and acting with no dignity. Every day brings new revelations in the Rangers drama, with strong suggestions that the major tax case will reveal that players had two contracts, which is against the regulations.

Answering Hateley, Lennon said: "He's using the words dignity and class -- well, Rangers are the ones under investigation. They're the ones who the police have been called in to look at.

"We've done nothing wrong. We've played the game on the pitch as honestly as we can and off the pitch we do our business properly. It was a cheap shot from Hateley."

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