Sunday 22 April 2018

Celtic boss Lennon: We’ll treat Cup final like Champions League match

Celtic manager Neil Lennon
Celtic manager Neil Lennon

Ronnie Esplin

NEIL LENNON revealed his Celtic side will prepare Champions League-style for next Sunday's William Hill Scottish Cup final against Hibernian at Hampden Park.

The Hoops finished off their Clydesdale Bank Premier League campaign with a convincing 4-0 win over Dundee United at Tannadice.

Kris Commons gave the champions the lead with a 30-yard free-kick in the 11th minute before Georgios Samaras helped himself to a double, the first with a deflected drive in the 17th minute and a header 10 minutes later.

With five minutes remaining substitute Anthony Stokes, on for Commons, completed the rout.

The Parkhead boss, who guided his side to the last 16 of the Champions League this season, said: "I was delighted with the performance. I got everything I wanted today.

"The cup final is all on the day but we will prepare as best we can, we will prepare like it was a Champions League game.

"We will train intensely, even though it is the last game of the season there will be no switching off.

"We will do a lot of analysis with the players and obviously we will have a look at some of our recent games at Hampden to see how we can improve on things.

"We will cover all the bases."

Lennon will assess Charlie Mulgrew (knee), James Forrest (stiffness) and Adam Matthews (knee) next week.

He said: "We will know by next Thursday if they are fit and if they are they will come into the squad.

"Adam is the real problem because he hasn't played since Juventus (in February) so he is a major concern.

"He has been training but he picked up a little injury again on Friday and we will have to wait and see."

Samaras does not believe his brace has secured his place in the cup final team.

Indeed, the Greece striker insists he will not be bothered if he is left out of the starting line-up next week as long as the Hoops win the trophy.

He said: "There are 22 players and we all have equal chances to start the game.

"It is up to the gaffer to see who is better suited to his strategy but it is not about the 11 players who start, it is about the 16.

"It is up to the gaffer if I start or not. If I play one minute or 90 minutes - everybody wants to win it and win it as a team.

"It is not about big egos and who is going to play or not, it is about the team."

Press Association

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