Lennon plays down Mulgrew fears
Sun, 07 Oct 2012 16:59:00
Neil Lennon expects Charlie Mulgrew to be fit for Scotland duty, despite being forced off with a head knock in Celtic's 1-0 win over Hearts.
Mulgrew and Hearts goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald, who was stretchered off wearing a neck brace, both recovered well from the early collision.
Celtic were without captain Scott Brown as Georgios Samaras struck the only goal as the home side displaced Hibernian from the top of the SPL, but the midfielder will also join up with Craig Levein's squad on Monday ahead of the World Cup double header against Wales and Belgium.
On Mulgrew, who played on for 20 minutes, Lennon said: "He was a bit groggy, a wee bit fuzzy. He wanted to carry on, but I think he was progressively feeling a bit more nauseous, but he has been checked out and he is fine.
"We'll have to check if there is concussion or a bit of grogginess. There is no reason why he can't go with Scotland and come under their medical department and let them look after him."
Brown sat out the game after feeling the effects of his ongoing hip complaint following Celtic's 3-2 victory over Spartak Moscow in Russia.
"Scott will join up," Lennon said. "Craig is well aware of the situation with Scott. We don't know if he will be able to play the two games, but they will have to gauge that themselves."
When asked if he would be unhappy if Brown did play both games, Lennon said: "I don't want to put pressure on anybody but no, I wouldn't because what surprised me after the Benfica game, he was fit to play in the Dundee game at the weekend.
"There are days and games where he recovers quicker than others. There is a little bit of inconsistency with this sort of condition that he has.
"But he couldn't play today, he was too sore and he made that decision himself on Thursday and Friday.
"It will probably all depend, if he is selected for the first game, how he feels after that."
Hearts manager John McGlynn allayed fears over MacDonald, who appeared to fall unconscious after punching away a cross from a crowd of bodies.
McGlynn said: "At half-time he was sitting up no problem. The doctor said he took 20 minutes to come round, but he checked him again and checked his eyes and he was okay.
"I'm sure he'll be observed for the rest of the night, but he is fine."
Samaras struck the 34th-minute winner through the legs of Peter Enckelman as Celtic recovered from a flat start when they could have gone behind as Callum Paterson missed Andrew Driver's cut-back from 12 yards.
Kris Commons, again omitted from the Scotland squad, set up the goal and was at the heart of Celtic's best play.
Hearts pushed Celtic back after the break without creating chances and Celtic stepped up a gear after Beram Kayal came on with 20 minutes to go, although Driver shot just wide in the dying seconds.
Lennon was "delighted" to get through the game unscathed after their first Champions League away win on Tuesday.
He added: "The players have put in a massive effort this week and you could see that fatigue was starting to kick in a bit towards the end.
"Having to use a substitute early for Charlie wasn't the way we wanted things to go because we knew that later on in the game fatigue would set in.
"I can't speak highly enough of the players, it's a brilliant effort. I'm not saying we were at our best by any means but we created brilliant chances and could have put Hearts away a lot earlier than we did."
But McGlynn felt his team should have come away with a draw.
"We came here with Celtic flying and you understand they will have a bit more of the ball and opportunities, however I thought our guys acquitted themselves tremendously well," he said.
"We were more than a match for Celtic. We had a great opportunity to go ahead with Callum Paterson and it might have been a different ball game because not long after that Celtic scored and the game swung in their favour.
"But our guys didn't panic, I've seen situations where Celtic get a goal and run over the top of you. But that didn't happen, our boys passed their way back into the game and kept working really, really hard.
"We had a great opportunity right at the death to get a point and I think we maybe deserved that."