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Irish Sports News Discussion:     Celtic Reach last 16 of CL Neil Lennon ambition

Celtic 3-0 Inverness

Celtic moved 18 points ahead of rivals Rangers with a comfortable win against Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

The visitors almost took the lead in the first minute when Roy McBain's shot was deflected wide by Paul Telfer.

Darren Dods scored an own goal in 43 minutes when he put the ball over the line under pressure from Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink. The Dutch forward fired home from 12 yards in 72 minutes and a Jarosik header in 86 minutes clinched victory. Celtic striker Kenny Miller was ruled out with an ankle injury and his place was taken by Maciej Zurawski. Defender Paul Telfer recovered from a hip problem and stopper Gary Caldwell overcame a long standing a knee complaint.

Both sides were keen to attack in the opening stages of the game in front of a quiet Celtic Park. Celtic thought they had opened the scoring in 26 minutes when Inverness failed to clear a corner. Hoops' defender Stephen McManus powered in a header which Fraser saved at his feet and, as Vennegoor of Hesselink tried to bundle the ball over the line, a mass of Inverness players scrambled the ball clear.

Celtic got the opening goal three minutes before the break with a scrappy effort. Lee Naylor's cross from the left was headed back towards goal by Zurawski, Vennegoor of Hesselink attempted to stab the ball over from a couple of yards out, but Darren Dods appeared to put it into the net. In the second half Celtic searched for a second goal to ease the pressure and relax the home support.

In 59 minutes, Caldwell was replaced by Darren O'Dea after landing awkwardly - casting doubt on his availability for Tuesday's Champions League clash with Manchester United.

Vennegoor of Hesselink banished the anxiety among the home support when he drilled the ball home from 12 yards after collecting a cross from Telfer. And Jiri Jarosik compounded Inverness' misery when he headed home Maloney's corner.

Looking forward to this weeks important match with Man United Neil Lennon says reaching the last 16 of the Champions League would be a major personal goal.

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