Robbie Keane's two goals to take his tally to 11 in 11 games for Celtic did far more than set up a 3-1 home victory over Kilmarnock – it got the caretaker manager and former club captain Neil Lennon off to a flying start in his attempt to build a case to be appointed permanently at the end of the season.
In the Scottish Premier League Celtic remain 10 points behind Rangers, who won 4-1 win at Hearts with two second-half goals from Steven Naismith, but Lennon admitted that relief was his main reaction to victory in his first match since taking over from Tony Mowbray.
"I really enjoyed the reception I received from the fans," he said, "it was tremendous, but once the game began I was totally engrossed. I asked for a reaction and I got one. I'm thrilled that we won and played in the manner that befits the club.
"It was a pretty good team performance and defensively I got what I asked for. Keane's was a wonderful goal to get us going. [Aiden] McGeady was unplayable in the second half, [Georgios] Samaras was the best I've seen him, and [Marc-Antoine] Fortune worked his socks off."
Keane, on loan from Spurs since January, said the players needed to make amends to fans for last week's 4-0 humiliation at St Mirren that sealed Mowbray's fate. "Itwasn't good enough, it is as simple as that. You can talk about this, that and the other, but as players it wasn't good enough and we had to accept that."