Maloney's form earns high praise from Lennon

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The Independent Online

Neil Lennon has claimed he will not concern himself with results at Rangers as he continues to drive Celtic on to capture the Scottish Premier League back from their big rivals.

In Saturday's lunchtime kick-off, Walter Smith's side battled back from behind against Hearts at Tynecastle to win 2-1 with an injury-time goal from Steven Naismith. The pressure to respond against Hamilton at Parkhead later in the day appeared to affect Lennon's side who fell behind to a Mark McLaughlin goal after only three minutes and could have conceded more during a shaky start to the match. But two goals from Shaun Maloney, a headed equaliser in the first half and a sumptuous free-kick, helped them to a 3-1 win.

Celtic are above Rangers on goal difference, each having won their first seven league games. After being asked if it had had been a disadvantage knowing what Rangers had done earlier in the day, Lennon replied: "I don't really know. But we can't dictate what Rangers do. We have to look after our own results and we did that.

"The consistency that both teams are showing is something to be admired and we will keep pushing and trying to improve. But we need a big improvement on that performance against Hamilton over the new few games."

Lennon praised Maloney who, with Scotland's Euro 2012 qualifier against the Czech Republic on Friday in Prague, will hope to maintain his recent good form. "He was fantastic," Lennon said. "He has been playing brilliantly. It was a wonderful free-kick but his overall performance was of a very high standard and I'm delighted for him."

The Rangers captain, David Weir, warned the side not to get carried away after they followed Wednesday's Champions League win with victory at Hearts. "If you look at the last couple of results and the European results, there is definitely something there," Weir said. "Ultimately, your team is judged at the end of the season, not the beginning of the season or after a good spell."

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