CELTIC manager Neil Lennon has praised the team ethic that allowed his side to grind out a huge three points at Pittodrie as they maintained their 10-point advantage at the top of the Premiership.

A late goal from Kristoffer Ajer was enough to give Celtic a win that looked unlikely after Ash Taylor had cancelled out Callum McGregor’s opener for the visitors.

The Celtic manager wasn’t prepared to admit that the title race is over just yet, but he did concede that his players had cleared a huge hurdle as they chase yet another championship.

“I’m thrilled,” Lennon said. “It was a massive win in treacherously difficult conditions to play football. All credit goes to the players who dug out a marvellous result for us.

“You can’t always play slick, quick football. We had to grind it out today.

“It’s a good sign. We’ve got a bit of character and resilience. They are a team, there is good solidarity within them. They keep going. Their fitness levels are good as well.

“We are not getting ahead of ourselves, there is a lot of football still to play. But in the context of the run we are on, it’s a big win.

Lennon thinks that a change of formation in the second half helped his team over the line, and his celebrations at the end hinted at how big a moment the victory represented. Although, when asked if it felt like a telling blow in the title fight, he said: “Don’t ask that! All wins help win titles.

“The change of system worked quite well for us. We started creating opportunities. Jonny (Hayes) had a great chance, then we score and then Odsonne (Edouard) has a great chance. So, the change definitely helped the players.

“For the winning goal, Jamesy (Forrest) has opened the pitch right up and then the pass is perfectly weighted. Big Kris, of all people, timed his run to perfection and showed a lot of composure to finish it off.

“It was a great goal and an important goal. We didn’t want to drop points, but it was looking like it.

“A point at Pittodrie can sometimes be a decent result. In these conditions the game could have gone either way but we have come up with a really important piece of football.

“I just wanted to keep the run going today. I wanted to appreciate the fans at the end, for making a long trek early in horrible conditions. I appreciate everything they bring to us, especially the away fans. They were magnificent today.

“Even at 1-1 when the game could have gone either way, our fans were making a lot of noise. So it was just appreciation of them.”