NEIL LENNON today congratulated his players on opening up a seven-point gap at the top of the SPL – the biggest lead they have had this season.
But the Celtic manager quickly warned this title race is far from over and said he was not happy with the performance which gave the champions a 2-0 victory at Dundee for their fifth straight league win.
He said: "You never expect anything in terms of a lead in the title race, but the players have been marvellous. We are getting a consistent, winning run together, and it is up to the others to try and find their own consistency.
"It was important we went to Dens Park and won, and I was delighted we did that to go seven clear with a game in hand."
And Lennon is making no attempt to disguise how pleased he is that his players have finally found the consistency of results in the SPL which he has been demanding.
Now he wants them to keep their foot to the floor all the way to the break, which comes after they have played Hibs on Saturday and Motherwell on Wednesday.
He said: "Results went for us yesterday with Inverness dropping points at home, Aberdeen losing at Motherwell and Hibs also dropping points again.
"It is far from over, but it is healthy, and it is where we want to be and we want to stretch that lead if we can before the break. However, we have got two very tough games coming up."
Lennon has emphasised to his players they will have to be back on their A game if they are to take maximum points from Hibs and Motherwell.
He said: "Mentally, we switched off at times against Dundee. We didn't do our jobs properly, we didn't pass the ball cleanly enough or well enough, and our decision-making at times was poor for us. That needs to be addressed."
Lennon was grateful, therefore, that he had Fraser Forster to keep Dundee out and and Georgios Samaras and Gary Hooper to show the quality in front of goal to make the points safe.
"Gary is in a brilliant vein of form, and, on a pitch like Dens Park, his touch was great," said the manager.
But he is concerned there may be an investigation into an off-the-ball incident in which TV appeared to show Kelvin Wilson catch John Baird with an elbow, though the striker has played down the clash.
When asked about the incident, Lennon was also right behind his player.
The Hoops boss had not yet seen the clash when he commented: "He (Kelvin) is saying the guy had a hold of his arm and he, basically, has pushed his hand away. The boy was nipping away at the players all night, barging into them and leaving things on.
"Our discipline is excellent and Kelvin as been a model pro since he walked in the door and it is not like him. So, I'm pretty sure that (even) if it does look bad, it is not deliberate."