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Lennon to freshen up Celts for Killie

NEIL LENNON will ring the changes for tomorrow's SPL clash with Kilmarnock after Celtic's midweek exertions in Barcelona.

Ninety-four minutes of action in the Nou Camp are likely to be the most physically demanding that most players will face in their career with the added pain of seeing a point slip away in stoppage time.

Kilmarnock will present an entirely different challenge with the Ayrshire side led in attack by former Hoops striker Cillian Sheridan as they seek their first win at Parkhead since 1955.

"The Barcelona match has taken a lot out of the players, so I'll be looking to freshen up as much as possible," Lennon confirmed. "We won't overdo it but there are players who are itching to play like Miku. Kris Commons and James Forrest didn't start against Barcelona so attacking wise we are very strong.

"The tempo, attitude and quality of performance last week at St Mirren was there for all to see and that was very pleasing.

"Tony Watt was particularly impressive. He's been in and out of the team but you get that with young players. I had a chat with him before the game and he gave me everything that I asked for and he topped it off with a great goal."

One player who'll be missing is Georgios Samaras, who picked up a serious looking ankle injury during the first half against Barcelona.

Watching the midfielder put all his weight on his right ankle made for painful viewing but after initial fears over a long-term injury Lennon is hopeful of a speedy return. "We don't know how long he's going to be out for but it's not as bad as it first looked," Lennon admitted. "We're hoping that he'll be fit for the return game.



Swelling

"We knew straight away with Georgios that it was bad, he's not one of these guys to try and milk things especially when he was playing so well. We knew straight away that he couldn't continue. There was a lot of swelling but once that goes down we'll know the full extent of the injury."

Celtic's display in Spain has caught the attention of a number of clubs with renewed speculation that bids will be made for Victor Wanyama and Gary Hooper during the January transfer window, with Liverpool likely to be leading the race for Hooper.

Thomas Rogne is anticipating a tough encounter tomorrow.

The Norwegian defender was in the Hoops side which suffered a shock defeat in the Scottish League Cup final against the Ayrshire outfit at Hampden last season, but he also experienced the joy of clinching the SPL title at Rugby Park several weeks later.

"Kilmarnock are a good side with some good players and play some good football as well," he said. "We had mixed experiences against them last season but if we play as well as we can, we should win."


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