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Watch Neil Lennon's Celtic press conference in full as he makes Antonio Conte admission

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Celtic manager Neil Lennon has admitted that his side's recent switch to 3-5-2 had less to do with tactical genius and more to do with necessity.

The Hoops returned from the winter break stinging from defeat to Rangers last month, but armed with a fresh tactical setup they have since brushed aside all comers and now sit ten points clear at the top of the division.

As the Celtic boss spoke to the press ahead of the trip to Aberdeen on Sunday, he was asked by reporters if the change was inspired by legendary Italian boss Antonio Conte, who made the three-at-the-back formation his own with Juventus, Chelsea and now Inter.

But Lennon had a more grounded explanation.

"To be honest it was because we had a lot of wingers out injured at the time," the manager said.

(Image: SNS Group)

"We felt it was something we could look at. I played under Martin O'Neill in that system for a long, long time as well, so it can work.

"Conte's Juventus was very successful and he's doing it again with Inter. Obviously he won the Premier League with Chelsea so he's sort of mastered it.

"It's not set in stone for us going forward this season. We'll see how we go with it."

The formation was in full swing in the 5-0 victory over Hearts on Wednesday, featuring a back three of Kris Ajer, Christopher Jullien and Jozo Simunovic with James Forrest and Greg Taylor on the flanks.

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And when pressed on the benefits of the new system, Lennon went on: "We felt we were maybe getting a bit stale with the 4-3-3, but we can always go back to that. We're flexible with the way we play.

"It gets the best out of the strikers. All of a sudden you start building partnerships.

"We've got three really strong centre-backs, and it gives you the three in midfield. If you've got pace wide, which we do, you can utilise that as well.

(Image: SNS Group)

"Greg Taylor had an outstanding game last night, one of the best since he's been here.

"And I like the style of football that it brings, more possession-based. "

You can watch the full press conference in the player above.


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