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Hat-trick hero Lafferty questions Celtic's heart

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GLASGOW — Rangers hat-trick hero Kyle Lafferty accused rivals Celtic of lacking heart after his goals helped Rangers clinch their third successive Scottish Premier League title.

Lafferty scored a treble in the 5-1 win over Kilmarnock to seal his club's 54th league championship.

The Northern Ireland international then took issue with Celtic manager Neil Lennon, who had wondered aloud in recent weeks whether teams were putting in sufficient effort against Rangers following big wins for the Ibrox club.

"You can only play who you are up against, whether they want to try or not," Lafferty said.

"I think every single team wants to go out and try and beat Rangers or Celtic and have a say in who wins the championship.

"It's disrespectful to other teams to say that they are not trying against Rangers or Celtic. I think we have been the better team.

"Even when we haven't been playing well we've still been picking up points. That's one thing Celtic can't do.

"I think when it gets tough, that's when they fail, and we've got the heart and desire to go out and win games."

Sunday's match against Kilmarnock was the fourth game in succession in which Lafferty had scored and after a barren spell at the start of the season, he finished the campaign with 15 goals.

His hat-trick also follows on from the two title-clinching goals he claimed against Dundee United and Hibernian in the previous two seasons.

"I think I would have been happy to score the first but to get the three -- I think I fulfilled my boyhood dream," said Lafferty.

"It has happened the last few years and I just can't get my head around it to be honest. But I hope they keep coming and maybe I can add a few more goals at the start and middle of the season and get my tally right up.

"I definitely don't enjoy the pressure but I don't know what it is. I do the same stuff in training and in the games and it just seems to come along at the end."

The striker has received his fair share of criticism since his £3.5 million ($5.7m) move from Burnley three years ago.

The Northern Irishman paid tribute to retiring manager Walter Smith, who claimed his 21st trophy in his final game in charge of the club, for keeping faith with him.

"He is the manager who brought me here. I always dreamt about playing for Rangers and he gave me the chance and I have to thank him for that," Lafferty said.

"To score three goals in his last game and win the title, three in a row, has been amazing.

"Obviously the game before was his last home game and we wanted to send him away on a high and we did that.

"Against Kilmarnock all we had to do was win three points and he would pick up his last trophy for the club and it was an amazing achievement for him."

"Every player knows what Walter Smith has done for Rangers and he deserves all the success he has got. To win three in a row in three years is amazing." :crabflute:

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Thats what you call a hero Big Lafferty yesterday and thats what you call a proud Northern Irish man unlike the Ginger green toothed pregnant woman threatening sectarian Lurgan Bigot.

Has anyone got photographic evidence of Lennon with a Northern Irish Flag?

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