Lennon wants more from Matthews

  • Last Updated: December 13 2012, 7:45 GMT

Celtic manager Neil Lennon admitted Adam Matthews' first goal for the club was worth the wait but then demanded he continue his recent attacking output.

Neil Lennon: Praised Matthews
Neil Lennon: Praised Matthews

Matthews struck the only goal of a close William Hill Scottish Cup fourth-round replay at Arbroath when he embarked on a lengthy run before smashing the ball into the top corner from 20 yards.

The Wales international set up two goals in Celtic's 3-1 victory over Kilmarnock on Saturday and continued in his wing-back role in a 3-5-2 starting formation.

Matthews has more Clydesdale Bank Premier League assists this season, seven, than any other player and Lennon was full of praise for the 20-year-old's first strike since joining from Cardiff 18 months ago.

"It was worth waiting for," Lennon said. "We have asked him to be a little bit more productive going forward.

"Defensively he is excellent, one-on-one defending.

"In the last couple of games we have seen him play in a couple of great balls for goals and score a goal. And he's capable of that, we see it training.

"His deliveries at times, especially in the first half, were of real high quality. Adam is a young boy who is developing brilliantly.

"I'm delighted with his performance. We took him off because he was feeling his groin a bit, but we hope he is going to be okay."

Celtic failed to build on the goal and Arbroath had a Steven Doris goal controversially ruled out for a foul on Fraser Forster, who made a one-on-one save from home substitute Connor Birse to book a fifth-round tie at Raith Rovers.

And Lennon was delighted his players avoided the fate of Arsenal at Bradford the previous night on a frosty pitch yards from the North Sea.

"It's a test of character to come here and win," Lennon said. "It will be an eye-opener for some of the players.

"Winning games isn't easy. The cameras were here to see if there was an upset. There was one last night. So I'm delighted that didn't happen.

"We should have won the first game comfortably but we didn't and they made a real fight of this game so they deserve enormous credit. They are a credit to the Second Division."

Arbroath player-manager Paul Sheerin had words of comfort for Birse.

"I sensed we would get a chance," he said. "It was going to be difficult but I knew something would give and we would get a chance somewhere along the line.

"It happened and Forster does what he has done most of the season and keeps them in the game.

"He has been excellent all season and I'm trying to stress that to young Connor who is in there beating himself up.

"We all miss chances and it's just unfortunate that he makes such a good save when he goes through."


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