Sunday 25 February 2018

Lennon fixes focus on chasing titles not records

Ronnie Esplin

Neil Lennon insists he is targeting trophies rather than records as his Celtic side steamroller their way towards a possible treble.

Victory over struggling Dunfermline at Parkhead tonight will extend the Hoops' domestic winning run to 19 games and take them 20 points clear of administration-hit Rangers at the top of the SPL.

With little doubt as to where the championship will end up this season, thoughts have turned to records, and three points against Dunfermline will be Celtic's 13th consecutive win in all competitions -- equalling the mark of Martin O'Neill's side of 2004, in which Lennon was a lynchpin.

However, the Parkhead boss said: "It is something I haven't been aware of, but if we can do that, then great.

"Martin is an exceptional manager and he had a very good team here at the time and to emulate that record would be fantastic.

"But these numbers mean nothing. The performances and results mean everything to me, the records don't mean a great deal at all."

When the conversation returned to records, the former Celtic skipper bristled before playing down comparisons between the class of 2004 and his own side.

"I don't care. We want to win the league, we would like to win the League Cup, and we would like to win the Scottish Cup -- we are the holders of that," he said.


"I have no interest in breaking records. We are just interested in winning trophies this year. The two teams are different. The team I played in was a lot more experienced than this one.

"This team has grown together, they are in a good place, the squad is healthy, there is good competition, but we are taking nothing for granted."

However, asked to project forward to possibly clinching the title at Ibrox next month, Lennon insisted it would be "just the way the cookie crumbles," before claiming he would rather win it at Celtic Park.

The SPL and Strathclyde Police harbour fears that the title is on course to be clinched by the Hoops against Rangers in Govan on March 25.

Since the light blues won the league in an ill-tempered match at Celtic Park in 1999 there have been attempts to schedule the Old Firm fixtures early so they do not coincide with the conclusion of the title race, but with Rangers being deducted 10 points for going into administration last week, those plans may have been scuppered.

Asked about the possibility of winning the title at the home of their bitter rivals, Lennon said: "If that's where we are on March 25, then we will try to win it.

Celtic are expected to win easily against bottom side Dunfermline, but Lennon urged a note of caution.

"Results haven't been great for them and probably the last team they would want to play would be us, but again, we talk about the unpredictability of sport, anything can happen," he said.

Irish Independent

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