NEIL LENNON said after the win over Rangers last week that he knew where the points were headed after the first 15 minutes, but the battle was already won before that in the dressing room.

That isn’t just a reference to the tactics employed by the Celtic manager, although I agree with much of the analysis after the game that Neil deserves real credit for the plan he put in place, while Rangers boss Steven Gerrard seemed to overthink things and got his personnel and approach all wrong.

But even more important for me was the desire that Celtic attacked the game with. People may say that the kick-off was a bit crude as Odsonne Edouard shelled the ball out of play in the corner, but it set the tone.

Celtic were saying to Rangers that we are going to play the game in your half, we’re going to be up and at you and in your faces. It might not always be the prettiest on the eye, but we will be on the front foot and it is up to you to handle that.

As it panned out, Rangers were unable to handle that high intensity from the Celtic players, and the result was never really in any doubt.

I know that Neil Lennon would have used the build-up to the game to fire his players up, and you could tell that the way his side had almost been dismissed had really annoyed him too. That’s nothing new, Celtic have been hearing about how Rangers are supposedly closing the gap and are ready to finally overthrow them for a couple of years now at least, but the game at Ibrox showed that is still some way off.

And while Lennon publicly bristled at the apparent dismissal of his side’s chances in the build-up to the match, he would secretly have been delighted as it gave him an easy opportunity to fire his players up to prove their doubters wrong. They did that, and then some.

Over and above the attitude his players showed and the result they managed to earn, what will have also pleased the Celtic boss is that the match was also a vindication of the business he had done during the summer.

On the day, the new recruits may just have shown they have what it takes to play for Celtic after all.

In the case of Fraser Forster of course, that was no surprise. He may not have had a lot to do at Ibrox, but his presence is something that will settle the Celtic backline down. I am a fan of Craig Gordon, but I think that Forster is currently at a different level and he will add quality between the sticks.

His quiet day at Ibrox though owed a lot to the men in front of him, and four of the five defenders who eventually played a part in the clean sheet were Old Firm debutants, and were only brought to the club by Lennon and Nicky Hammond over the summer.

Hatem Abd Elhamed was assured at right-back and did well when brought into the centre too once Nir Bitton – who also played well - was forced off through injury. Moritz Bauer, making his first ever appearance for the club, impressed too when he filled that void.

I want to save special praise for Boli Bolingoli and Christopher Jullien though, who have come in for some criticism since arriving in Glasgow. Jullien was absolutely outstanding at the heart of the defence, and looked every inch the £7m player that he is.

Bolingoli also turned in an accomplished performance, and I am delighted for him after his rocky start at Celtic.