NEIL Lennon described his Celtic side as "absolutely brilliant" after the Hoops twice came from behind to draw 2-2 with Rangers in the most dramatic of Scottish Cup fifth-round ties at Ibrox.
Light Blues midfielder Jamie Ness began an afternoon of thrills and spills when he scored his first Rangers goal in the third minute with a thundering drive from the edge of the box.
Old Firm debutant Kris Commons levelled in the 15th minute before Steven Whittaker restored Rangers' lead from the spot after Hoops keeper Fraser Forster had been sent off for bringing down Steven Naismith in the box.
However, Lennon's side continued to dominate after the break and were rewarded when skipper Scott Brown equalised in the 64th minute before Naismith, booked in the first half for a foul on Mark Wilson, was sent off for simulation inside the visitors' penalty area.
The Celtic boss could not have been more pleased with his side's efforts in Govan.
"I thought we were absolutely brilliant," said Lennon. "Every one of the players.
"We had to overcame a few setbacks but played with no fear and played the way we wanted them to play.
"They set their stall out in the second half and played wonderfully well.
"They showed a lot of character and belief, scored two goals and created lots of chances.
"We knew at half-time that Rangers would sit it in and try to counter-attack and that would be our only danger.
"At half-time I said to them that there was no point in playing well and losing and that people don't remember the losers in Old Firm games.
"We controlled the game even when they had the penalty we were the dominant side and to come here and control the game is very pleasing.
"The amount of chances we created and some of the football we played was top class."
The replay means the Glasgow giants will face each other seven times this season.
The cup game at Celtic Park on March 2 comes after the next Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash between the sides at the same venue but before the Co-operative Insurance Cup final at Hampden, and there is sure to be another SPL encounter after the split.
When asked what he thought about an additional Old Firm game in the cup replay, Lennon joked: "Absolute torture!
"I think some times it can be over-egged a bit but it's just the way the fixtures have been brought on.
"These are the fixtures you want to play in if you are involved in the Old Firm. These are the games that define you.
"And I will take a helluva lot of pleasure by the way my team played. I am very proud of them.
"They were brave on the ball, brave in the tackle, worked tremendously hard and when were down to 10 men we were the better team."
Lennon had no real qualms about Forster's sending-off, which meant Commons had to come off to be replaced by number two keeper Lukasz Zaluska.
The Northern Irishman said: "I didn't have a clear view and some people say it might have been a yellow card because he was going away from goal but I can understand why the referee gave it.
"But it was our fault. We gave the ball away in a bad area and Rangers are pretty good at counter-attacking.
"To come here and have as much dominance and possession as we had, even when were a man down, is testament to the players and the progress we have made.
"The players are trying to set themselves standards - not just for this season but for years to come.
"We will take a lot of positives from the game today but every Old Firm game is different."