By Alex Stevens

Neil Lennon compared Patrick Roberts’ finishing to superstar Lionel Messi in the wake of Celtic’s 3-1 win over Hearts on Saturday afternoon.

Jamie Walker gives Hearts an early lead at Parkhead but a Roberts-inspired comeback saw Celtic extend their lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership to seven points ahead of Aberdeen facing Hamilton tomorrow.

The on-loan Manchester City star had failed to score in his four previous appearances for the Scottish champions in a difficult start to his 18-month Celtic spell.

But after Gary Mackay-Stephen levelled the scores for the home side with an arrowed finish, Roberts gave his side the lead with a brilliant flicked finish over goalkeeper Neil Alexander with the outside of his left foot.

“A brilliant finish, absolute top class, Messi-esque,” said Lennon, speaking to Sky Sports after the match. “A lovely disguise on the pass and what a brilliant finish, that was the real turning point in the game.

Left-footed Roberts added a third for Ronny Deila’s side early in the second half when he finished off a counter-attack with an angled shot from the edge of the box.

“I love the finish,” Lennon said to Sky Sports. “He’s hugging the touchline, wants the ball and wants to get half a yard to get the shot off, and it’s a lovely finish into the bottom corner.

“Players with that balance and that low centre of gravity take that step and half a yard, and it’s a very good finish. Robert was the difference between the sides today.”

In other Celtic news, Liverpool are eyeing a move for one of the team’s emerging stars.