Tuesday 21 November 2017

Neil Lennon expecting a tough examination from Hibs

Celtic manager Neil Lennon
Celtic manager Neil Lennon

Ronnie Esplin

Neil Lennon believes Hibernian will want to make a name for themselves by taking Celtic's scalp in their Scottish Premiership clash at Easter Road on Sunday.

The Hoops are looking to extend their unbeaten run in the top flight to 22 games since the start of the campaign as they stride clear at the top of the table.

Terry Butcher made immediate improvements to the Leithers when he took over from Pat Fenlon in November but his side have taken a couple of steps back in recent weeks with losses to St Mirren and Aberdeen which has left them seventh in the table.

However, the Parkhead boss insists the Englishman will have his players fired up even more for the visit of the champions by urging them to be the team that unseats the champions for the first time in the league this season.

"Off the back of surprise defeat at home (to St Mirren), Terry will have them very motivated for this game," said Lennon.

"If you look at their results overall under Terry you can see glimpses of improvement from where they were.

"They have been consistent and difficult to beat, so that was a surprise result last week.

"But as Terry said during the week, there is probably no better game for their players to get their teeth back into, than to play us with the run that we are on and try to be the team that breaks that run.

"Our players are very motivated to keep the run going but then I would say the opposition would be motivated to be the team that stops the run.

"So every game now is a challenge."

Lennon fumed after Celtic's last visit to Easter Road in October describing some of the home side's tackling as "shocking" and "absolutely reckless" after dropping two points in the 1-1 draw.

The Northern Irishman stressed that his side will be ready for whatever former Inverness boss Butcher has in store for them this time although he expects football to dominate.

"I wasn't happy with some of the challenges on the day," said the former Celtic skipper.

"They were borderline over-physical.

"I don't mind the physical side of the game as you know, I was involved in it up here for a long, long time.

"Our players can look after themselves, their discipline is very good.

"If it is a physical game we will deal with that but Hibs have got players who can play as well.

"When you look at Inverness over the years, they always had a physical approach but in the latter time that Terry was there, they had good footballers.

"So I wouldn't tag him as a physical type of manager.

"He likes his teams to press you and get in your face but he has players there who can play football."

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