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Lennon ties up McGeady

Neil Lennon has insisted that he'll pick Aiden McGeady to face Sporting Braga tonight - unless he's told differently.

In his first match in permanent charge of Celtic Lennon has already decided that he will play and cup-tie the midfielder, which would instantly reduce McGeady's transfer value.

A £10m bid from Spartak Moscow is on the table for the 24-year-old with Celtic still waiting for concrete interest from the Premiership.

McGeady, yesterday named by Giovanni Trapattoni in the Republic of Ireland panel for the match against Argentina on August 11, is unlikely to move to Russia. But the prospects of moving to Aston Villa or Spurs will be hampered if he features for Celtic against Braga.

As football manager Lennon wants to play his star asset, even though McGeady hasn't played in any match since May 10. But the Parkhead money men may have other ideas.

Last night Lennon admitted: "Unless I'm told differently, Aiden is playing, unless something happens with him in the next 24 hours or so.

"I don't know if he'll be over the line with a deal or not. But he is still a Celtic player. I haven't spoken to him since America, but he has to put everything to the back of his mind and concentrate on playing football for us. He has trained with us and he's a naturally fit boy. Judging by the way he trained, he is ready to start the game.

"There has been an offer on the table, but that was four or five weeks ago. Nothing since."

The decision on whether to start with McGeady in the team or on the bench is one of many that Lennon has to decide on before naming his side.

Daryl Murphy was joined on the flight to Portugal by £2.4m signing Gary Hooper from Scunthorpe with Marco Fortune and Georgios Samaras also competing for places in attack.

Braga was the least intimidating of opponents that Celtic could have drawn at this stage.

But after finishing ahead of Sporting Lisbon and Porto in the championship they are clearly no mugs.

Lennon will be looking to keep the game as tight as possible before the return at Parkhead with the memories of Gordon Strachan's first match- a 5-0 defeat from Artmedia Bratislava- still painfully in mind.