Thompson: We needed victory to redeem us

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The Independent Football

Josh Thompson was relieved following Celtic's 2-1 victory over Motherwell on Tuesday night after admitting failure was not an option in the wake of the club's Active Nation Scottish Cup shock against Ross County.

Nineteen-year-old defender Thompson inadvertently set up the visitors' opening goal at Parkhead but he atoned by sweeping home the equaliser two minutes later and heading the winner from Lee Naylor's corner 12 minutes from time.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon had been fiercely critical of his team following the semi-final and had demanded a much-improved attitude.

"We knew that Saturday wasn't good enough," Thompson said. "We expected the reaction we got from the fans and the manager knew as well.

"Everyone was just looking forward to getting this game so we could show we can turn it round and redeem ourselves from the poor performances.

"I don't think we could have come away with anything but a win after Saturday. I think everyone was a bit nervous because everyone knew the importance of the game, but that settled once we got on the ball a bit."

Lennon, who is eager to retain his job beyond this season, has already held discussions with chief executive Peter Lawwell and main shareholder Dermot Desmond over which players should be moved on in the summer.

Thompson is certain to be one of the players staying after making a largely positive impact in his unexpected rise to the first team, but he has sensed a determination among all the players to earn a future at Parkhead.

"Everyone is working that bit harder and knows the importance of each game and every training session even," he said. Lennon was delighted with Thompson's attitude after the teenager convinced the manager he was equipped to deal with the pressure of appeasing the Celtic support.

There was little option for Lennon with centre-backs Glenn Loovens, Thomas Rogne and Jos Hooiveld all injured. Lennon said: "He is as honest as the day is long, he wants to learn, he's a great kid to work with. He has been thrown in at the deep end due to circumstances and he has acquitted himself really, really well."

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