Celtic never stopped believing, says Mulgrew

Celtic defender Charlie Mulgrew said his team-mates always believed in themselves after finally grabbing their first league win at home since October following a 2-0 defeat of St Mirren.

The Hoops have excelled in European competition this season as Neil Lennon led his side to the last 16 of the Champions League for only the third time in their history.

But at the same time as picking up superb home wins against Barcelona and Spartak Moscow Lennon's side also lost to Kilmarnock and Inverness Caledonian Thistle at Parkhead while St Johnstone held the Hoops to a draw.

However, after a first half tap-in from Victor Wanyama and a late strike from Gary Hooper Celtic finally put their home hoodoo to bed with their first win at home in the league since their 1-0 victory over Hearts on October 7.

Mulgrew, who set up both goals from superbly hit corner kicks, admitted it was a relief to get back to winning ways at home following away wins at Kilmarnock and Arbroath.

"It was great to get the win at home. St Mirren sat in and made it difficult for us as many teams have this season but we managed to get the two goals and should probably have been more," the Scotland defender said.

"We always had the belief that we could put a run together and we have begun to do that now after another good result for us.

"The emphasis at home is on us to go and attack and it can be difficult for us at times but we managed to do it today and get the result.

"A lot was made of it when a couple of homes results did not go our way and people caught on to it.

"But we always believed we could change that and go on a run."

The win against St Mirren extended Celtic's lead at the top of the Scottish Premier League to four points with a game in hand against nearest rivals Motherwell.

And Hoops boss Lennon was delighted with his side's third league win in a row.

"We've got a four point cushion with a game in hand now," Lennon said.

"I don't know if we'll win the game in hand but four points is decent and with a game in hand we're starting to get a bit of daylight between us and everyone else which is obviously what we want.

"The most pleasing aspect today was the home win, the clean sheet and it was good to see Hooper scoring again.

"There was nothing stodgy about our play today and we created some real clear cut chances and but for better finishing we could have won the game more handsomely.

"There is always that wariness, particularly when you're at home and only a goal up. I'd like to see us put teams away a little bit earlier and if that comes then I think we'll be rampant.

"Now we've got a lot to look forward to. Obviously this week we've got the Champions League draw and then the games in the new year and who knows what they might bring."

Mulgrew said he hoped to be paired with Manchester United in Thursday's draw for the last 16 of Europe's elite competition.

"I would like Manchester United personally but whoever it is we have to be prepared," the Hoops defender said.

"I have never been involved in a Battle of Britain game before and it would be a hard game but whoever it is it will be tough.

"We got a good result against Barcelona here. I'm not going to say we fancy our chances against Manchester United but we have to believe in ourselves."

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