Celtic vs. Inverness CT  4 - 1

Article

Lennon: SPFA shortlist ´abysmal´

27 April 2013 00:08

Neil Lennon says it is "abysmal" that the shortlist for SPFA Player of the Year Award contains no players from Celtic.

The Glasgow side were crowned SPL champions after defeating Inverness 4-1 on Sunday, giving them an unassailable 15 points lead over second place Motherwell.

But there was no place on a list consisting of Hibernian's Leigh Griffiths, Michael Higdon of Motherwell, Aberdeen's Niall McGinn and Andrew Shinnie of Inverness.

Lennon queried: "Are people voting for the best or most improved player?"

"The outcome of those votes belittles all the efforts of the players.

"That's not taking anything from the candidates that were nominated. They have all had fine seasons, but to not have one Celtic player in that group is unbelievable.

"I can't see why there's no Kris Commons, Gary Hooper, Victor Wanyama or Fraser Forster on that list."

The shortlist marks the first time in 23 years that a player who does not play for Celtic or Rangers will win the award.

Higdon heads the goal-scoring charts in Scotland after firing 25 goals in all competitions in a productive season for Motherwell.

Griffiths, on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers, has matched that record and is currently on a second straight season on-loan at the Easter Road club.

Shinnie's 15 goals from midfield have secured him a summer move to English championship side Birmingham City upon the expiry of his contract.

Griffiths joins Wanyama and Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Steven of Dundee United in the list for the young player of year award in Scotland.

"I have no idea what way the voting goes but you can't tell me that Forster, Wanyama, Commons, Kelvin Wilson and Hooper weren't in the forefronts of people's minds when the votes were made. It's ridiculous," Lennon added.

"There is a lot of ill will in the dressing room now. The players are very, very disappointed with the outcome. They have performed heroically.

"It's an independent vote. Every player, including the Celtic players gets a vote. We had probably 250-plus returns; we collate them, we put out the top four and it's the players themselves who decide."

Article

Scottish Premier League wrap: Celtic crowned champions

21 April 2013 16:26

Gary Hooper scored a brace as Celtic claimed the Scottish Premier League title with a 4-1 win over Inverness CT on Sunday.

The victory sees the Glasgow giants confirmed as champions with four games left in the season and a Scottish Cup final against Hibernian to come.

The first real chance came the way of James Forrest with 20 minutes gone, after the visitors had failed to properly clear a Kris Commons strike at goal, allowing the young winger to take aim from the edge of the area, but his effort ended up sailing wide.

In the closing stages of the opening half Celtic continued to press forward, with Anthony Stokes being called offside as he rolled the ball into the net.

Celtic continued at the start of the second half in the same vain in which they finished the first, full of attacking intent, with Commons having a shot blocked, then the rebound being fired over the bar from Hooper.

Neil Lennon's side should have taken the lead with 11 minutes of the second period gone, as Efe Ambrose rose unchallenged to meet a Commons corner, but the 24-year-old Nigerian could only direct his header over the bar.

On the hour mark they deservedly took the lead when Commons cut inside from the left and played a ball through the Inverness defence, finding Hooper, who turned and slotted home past Reguero, into the bottom corner.

Six minutes later the Parkhead party got into full swing as Mikael Lustig made his way down the right hand side and the Swede then searched out Joe Ledley on the edge of the area and the stand-in skipper placed the ball into the back of the net.

The goals started to fly in, with the home side getting a third almost immediately, as Inverness failed to properly clear, allowing Commons to direct a pass from the left wing to Hooper, who flicked the ball through his own legs and into goal for his second of the game.

With the game having only two minutes left, substitute Georgios Samaras got in on the act, cutting in from the left hand side and smashing the ball into the back of the net.

The visitors did get a goal deep into injury time when Aaron Doran nipped in and poked the ball past Fraser Forster for a consolation, but that could not stop Celtic's title party.

Meanwhile, Ross County twice came from behind to secure a 2-2 draw at St Johnstone.

Steven MacLean opened the scoring for St Johnstone in the sixth minute, before Richard Brittain levelled proceedings with a penalty nine minutes later.

St Johnstone reclaimed the lead through Murray Davidson, though parity was restored when Brittain struck again from the spot with 14 minutes to go.

Premiership table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +57 79
2 38 +16 63
3 38 +1 56
4 38 +4 54
5 38 -1 53
6 38 -11 47