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Lennon: Celts eager to play

Neil Lennon is attempting to look on the bright side of Celtic's three week lay-off.

The Hoops boss last saw his side in action on November 27 when they threw away a two goal lead to draw 2-2 at home to Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

Another arctic blast predicted for tomorrow has cast a question mark over Saturday's match away to Hamilton Academical as Lennon attempts to maintain a challenge on rivals Rangers.

The unscheduled break has given the Celtic coaching staff extra time with the players, but Lennon is anxious to see those lessons put to use in competitive action.

He said: "Having drawn our last two couple of home games, the lads are desperate to play again as quickly as possible -- but that's not been the case. In terms of training, though, it's gone well.

"More snow is being predicted but there's nothing that we can do about that, we just have to prepare as best we can.

"We've had time to analyse things. I haven't been too down about the overall performances, it's just because we've let ourselves down in the last 15 minutes of games when we've been in decent positions.

"I don't want to make too much of that, though, because there's a lot of football to be played. I'd imagine the players will be even more up for the game after two weeks off so there will be a real hunger to play.

"There will be a bit of freshness about them too, we have to prepare them as best we can but they are all looking forward to playing again."

The three-week break has been welcomed by the walking wounded, with Lennon looking forward to the return of skipper Scott Brown among others.

South Korean duo Ki Sung-Yeung and Cha Du-Ri could miss seven matches from December 26 due to the Asian Cup in Qatar, but that loss could be offset by the return of Brown and others.

Lennon added: "The break has given a few of the players a chance to get over any aches and pains that were there. It's also given us a little bit of extra time to prepare the injured boys.

"James Forrest is hopefully going to be ready to play against Hamilton, which would be a big bonus."