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Vakoun Bayo thankful for Neil Lennon support after brace in first Celtic start

Vakoun Bayo thanked manager Neil Lennon for his support after claiming a double on his long-awaited first Celtic start.

The 22-year-old January signing suffered a hamstring injury not long after Lennon took over in late February and experienced a recurrence during pre-season.

The Ivory Coast international had only made three late substitute appearances before being handed his full debut in Sunday’s visit of Hearts and he repaid Lennon’s faith by playing a key role in a 3-1 victory.

Bayo was on hand to attack two crosses either side of Callum McGregor’s brilliant strike and the forward claimed a brace despite Hearts manager Craig Levein arguing both were own goals.

He later headed against the post before going off with cramp and getting a hug from Lennon on the sidelines.

Bayo, who arrived from Dunajska Streda of Slovakia, said: “I should have scored three and the manager told me that as well!

“He’s been great with me since I arrived and he speaks to me and encourages me all the time.

“I have benefited by the encouragement and it has paid off with me scoring.”

Bayo added: “It’s a great club and the fans are incredible. This was my first chance at starting and there were lots of people watching so I was amazed by that.

“It’s just part of football and the fans make it. The fans were happy and they understand I have been waiting for this.

“When I arrived I was really happy and then I suffered the injuries but the manager has been happy with me and the progress I was making but I had to be patient with it.”