Caretaker Celtic manager Neil Lennon last night admitted that Odsonne Edouard’s 96th minute winner at Dens Park has given Celtic a massive psychological advantage ahead of the penultimate Old Firm game of the season.

Celtic host Rangers at the end of the month in the immediate aftermath of the international break and Lennon believes Celtic’s ten-point cushion takes the pressure off the Parkhead side going into the game.

Steven Gerrard’s side were held to a draw against Kilmarnock, a slip that Celtic took full advantage of with Edouard’s late winner.

“It’s significant,” said Lennon of the 10-point gap at the top.

“We are not taking anything for granted but it’s significant. Psychologically it’s huge.


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“Is there a bit less pressure going into the Rangers game? Yes. I think so. It means we don’t have to win it. Ideally we would love to win it and get over the line as quickly as possible. But all the onus is on the other teams around us.

“The gap between first and second now is bigger than second and third - and that’s significant for us.”

And Lennon is optimistic that by the time the game comes around in just under a fortnight that he will have a stronger hand going into the tie.

Filip Benkovic made his first appearance since the end of January yesterday when he came off the bench for the concussed Kristoffer Ajer while Callum McGregor played his first 90 minutes since the Europa League tie against Valencia in Spain last month.

Tom Rogic and Olivier Ntcham are expected to be back for the game against Rangers although Lennon joked that their availability will add to his headaches.

“It’s brilliant,” he said. “Callum’s been out for three weeks and he’s played the 90 minutes, which we did not plan on doing. But needs must.

“Kris got concussion and Filip came on and he was excellent. That gives me a lot of encouragement. Getting Ntcham and Rogic back on the pitch hopefully and Dedryk [Boyata] should be okay, we are starting to look stronger because we were stretched. It gives me options - but it will give me another headache. But we are lacking a little bit of creativity at the minute.”

Meanwhile, Lennon maintained that he was delighted to take all three points against Dundee from an encounter that looked as though Celtic would be frustrated for much of it.


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The interim Celtic manager acknowledged the deficiencies in the performance but insisted that the here and now is all about getting over the line as the Parkhead side moved closer to their eight successive title.

“You are not always going to roll over teams, especially teams who are fighting for their livelihoods and their position in the league,” he said. “I thought Dundee defended like trojans. They defended like warriors and made it very difficult for us and there are times when we can play better but I am not going to analyse the game right now. The most significant thing is that the object of today was to win the game and we have done that. We wanted to go ten points clear and we have done that and now we can assess things in the next two weeks and get some bodies back.”