Watt has Champions League chance

PA Sport
Tony Watt scored a brace in Celtic's 4-2 win over Inverness
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Tony Watt scored a brace in Celtic's 4-2 win over Inverness

Celtic manager Neil Lennon admitted Tony Watt had put himself in contention for a Champions League debut after the teenager hit a double in a 4-2 win over Inverness.

The 18-year-old was a constant threat on his first start for the club as Celtic swept to a four-goal lead inside 64 minutes. The former Airdrie player nutmegged Inverness defender Simon King before sprinting clear and finishing with aplomb in the 24th minute, and was on hand to net from close range in the second half.

Lennon admits he cannot rule him out of retaining his place as Celtic defend a 2-0 lead against Helsingborg in the Champions League play-off at Parkhead on Wednesday. "He has given himself a good chance," Lennon said. "But it's such a huge game to throw a rookie in there. I don't know, I'll think about it, but I have an idea what the team will be."

Lennon was delighted with Watt's partnership with Gary Hooper. "They were sensational," Lennon said. "Tony gives us something a little bit different. He is prepared to go in behind, has a physical presence, and is prepared to run at people."

He added: "Gary just kept going into the pockets and picking up the ball deep and starting a lot of attacks off. I'm really, really pleased with their performances."

Celtic took an early lead through a header from Victor Wanyama, who dominated central midfield alongside another 18-year-old, Filip Twardzik, and they also scored in the opening moments of the second half when Charlie Mulgrew drilled home following a well-worked set-piece.

The only negatives for Celtic were two late consolations from Ross Draper after Lennon had brought on teenager Joe Chalmers at left-back.

Inverness manager Terry Butcher bemoaned his side's poor start and admitted they were well beaten. He said: "It annoys me when people say that it's a much-weakened Celtic side because they still have some quality players. If they get the start they did, they are certainly going to play well.

"It could have been more than four and we got the goals at the end, which we can take a little bit of positives from, but Celtic had switched off by then.

"We can play a lot better, we are very disappointed by our performance and the way we started the match in particular. I don't know what the reason was, it wasn't pleasant to watch and it was a long 90 minutes."

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