Neil Lennon wants his players to remember the pain of last year's Scottish League Cup final defeat to Rangers as they prepare to take on Kilmarnock in this season's final at Hampden Park today.
The Hoops went down 2-1 to their Old Firm rivals in extra-time which prevented them ultimately winning a cup double. Celtic are strong favourites today to take the first trophy of a possible treble and Lennon wants his players to use last season's final loss as motivation.
"I can use a lot of games to motivate the players, none more so than the cup final this time last year," he said. "I think that will be a motivation itself. But we have our own reasons for winning the cup and hopefully the players will concentrate on that."
McCoist looks to rally Gers
Ally McCoist insists he is not afraid of Celtic winning the league title at Ibrox this day week.
If Motherwell do not win both their games before the penultimate Old Firm fixture of the season, the Parkhead club can wrap up the championship at the home of their biggest rivals for the first time since 1967. After watching his young side lose 2-1 to Dundee United at Tannadice yesterday, the Rangers boss was bullish at the prospect of what many Gers fans believe would be the ultimate nightmare.
"I've not given it any thought," he said. "I have never been scared of an Old Firm game in my life and I don't plan on starting now. We certainly have players who can win the game."
Williamson on European hunt
Defender Mike Williamson is confident Newcastle can reignite their charge for Europe by dispelling any talk of a "mini-crisis". The Magpies are without a league win in four attempts and have collected only two points from the last 12. Nevertheless, they remain in sixth place, two points clear of closest chasers Liverpool ahead of today's home clash with Norwich.
"People are going to look at that and, by the standards the boys have set earlier on in the season, they are going to start calling it a mini-crisis," Williamson said.
"But I just think in the last three or four games, the luck hasn't been on our side. We have put as much preparation and heart into the games and we just haven't had the rub of the green. The lads have been working hard -- that's what can turn it around, hard work, and that's what we have in that dressing room."
Collins denies Leeds at death
Loan defender Danny Collins scored a last-minute equaliser to earn West Ham what could prove to be a vital point at Leeds yesterday, as they extended their unbeaten run to eight games with a 1-1 draw.
When Luciano Becchio nodded Leeds ahead with seven minutes to go, the Championship promotion picture was not looking too favourable for the Hammers, with top-two rivals Southampton and Reading both winning.
But, right on cue, Collins rose the highest to head home a Mark Noble corner and earn a crucial point for Sam Allardyce's men, who are now five points off the lead and three points shy of second.
Lambert hits another treble
Two late penalties gave Rickie Lambert a fourth hat-trick of the season and kept Southampton on top of the Championship with a dramatic 3-2 victory over Millwall.
The leaders were in danger of falling to their first defeat in 10 matches with five minutes remaining, trailing 2-1 against a Millwall side who have not won at home since St Stephen's Day.
A fired-up Millwall pushed the promotion chasers all the way and looked set to clinch at least a point. But Paul Robinson, whose volley put Millwall ahead after Jose Fonte's own goal had cancelled out Lambert's opener, fouled Lambert in the area for the striker's first spot-kick in the 85th minute and three minutes later Alan Dunne was adjudged to have handled in the area. Lambert netted the penalty to complete his treble.
Foxes hungry for cup upset
Leicester's players sense a FA Cup upset is on the cards at Stamford Bridge today, according to boss Nigel Pearson.
The Foxes travel to Chelsea for the sixth-round tie as massive underdogs to reach the semi-finals.
But he insists there is a feeling in the Leicester camp that they can cause a shock -- if they are brave against the three-time Premier League winners.
"If you speak to the players, just the fact they are looking forward to it tells you they do believe," said Pearson.
"It is about collectively being focused on doing a job. Yes, it will be a tough game, but they will have a respect for us and be mindful of the fact we have some players who have the capability to have a huge impact on this game. We have to be prepared and have a big-game mentality," he said.
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