Lennon delighted with fringe players' showing
Celtic manager Neil Lennon heaped praise on his fringe players after they helped fire the Glasgow club to a 3-1 win at Inverness Caledonian Thistle on Saturday.
With one eye on their Champions League last-16 first-leg clash with Juventus on Tuesday, Lennon made nine changes to his line-up.
But the selection gamble paid off as goals from Kris Commons, Israeli defender Rami Gershon and Miku sealed a 3-1 win after Nick Ross had given Inverness an early lead.
The win allows Celtic to move 18 points clear at the top of the SPL, and Lennon singled out debutants Gershon and Australian Tom Rogic as well as youngster Dylan McGeouch for praise as they played pivotal roles in the Hoops' fifth straight league win.
"The young lads were exceptional. They have certainly earned my trust with that performance," Lennon said.
"I'm delighted and I think you saw a wee glimpse of what's coming through. Marcus Fraser, McGeouch and Rogic are all young players and I thought they were fantastic.
"They are players who have been on the cusp of the first-team squad and they've come in and done a magnificent job.
"Tom has settled in very quickly. Sometimes you feel new signings will need a wee adjustment period but he's settled in very quickly.
"We know Rami is powerful in the air and he's scored a great goal. He is an asset to the squad.
"McGeouch really showed why we brought him back. He had a little bit of a dip in form due to injuries but that performance today was of a very high standard.
"All in all, to come here against a team in second place with our first team out and to win speaks volumes for the performance of the players today."
Lennon also welcomed back goalkeeper Fraser Forster for the game against high-flying Inverness after a three-match absence due to a neck injury.
However, he looked shaky throughout with his poor clearance leading to the opener for the home side.
Nevertheless, Lennon was just pleased to see the 'keeper, whose impressive displays were instrumental in helping Celtic qualify from a tough Champions League Group, return before the meeting with the Serie A leaders Juve on Tuesday.
"He was a wee bit rusty naturally and it was very important he got some game time," the Hoops boss said.
"He's fine and there's no reaction from the injury and he'll be ready for Tuesday."
Lennon also revealed injured duo Emilio Izaguirre and James Forrest will be included in the squad for Tuesday while Greek striker Georgios Samaras will be assessed on Monday.
Meanwhile, Australian international Rogic declared himself pleased with his Celtic debut after putting in a man-of-the-match performance in the 3-1 win.
Rogic, who signed from Australian A-League side Central Coast Mariners last month, set up the first goal for Commons and the midfielder hopes he might have played his way into his manager's plans for the rest of the season.
"I'm pretty happy. It was a good performance all round from the team. Obviously a lot of the players were rested but I think we've still got a pretty strong squad," the 20-year-old said.
"I had a lot of very good players around me guiding me through the match which made it a lot easier for me.
"It's a different style to what I'm used to. Maybe it's a little bit more physical but nothing to be worried about.
"You go out every game trying to make a statement and showing what you can do.
"I want to be part of the first-team squad. I think every player here does so I will keep working hard on the training ground and hopefully catch the coach's eye."