Saturday 24 February 2018

Lennon wary of Hibs spirit

Neil Lennon. Photo: Getty Images
Neil Lennon. Photo: Getty Images

CELTIC manager Neil Lennon has warned his players to ensure that struggling Hibernian don't begin their fightback at Celtic Park tomorrow.

Hibs boss John Hughes has come under pressure following a poor start to the season and again was subjected to boos from his own fans following the 3-1 Co-operative Insurance Cup defeat by Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on Wednesday night.

Celtic have won five SPL games out of five and go into the game in great shape following a 6-0 win over Inverness in their League Cup tie.

But the Hoops boss knows Hughes will be looking for a response from his players at Parkhead.

"We have to make sure that it's not against us, because that would give them a huge lift," said Lennon. "It wouldn't damage us, but it would be disappointing and we have to be aware of that.

"They'll be coming to put on a performance and players do lift themselves when they come to Celtic Park. We have to be above that and make sure we are right."

Celtic were handed a trip to St Johnstone in the quarter-finals of the cup competition and Lennon insists his side are in fine fettle.

"I feel there is more to come from the group; they are growing together, but again, it's very early days," he said. "We're not getting too carried away, but we're very pleased."

Elsewhere, Newcastle said they expect Steve Harper to be out of action for around 12 weeks after undergoing shoulder surgery.

The 35-year-old sustained the injury in Saturday's 1-0 Premier League victory at Everton in a first-half incident involving Toffees striker Jermaine Beckford.

Beckford was booked for the challenge, although the tackle was not a bad one, it ended the involvement of Harper, who landed heavily on his left shoulder and immediately looked in distress before being carried from the field on a stretcher.

A Newcastle spokesman said: "Following a shoulder ligament injury in the game against Everton, Steve Harper has undergone a successful operation."

Irish Independent

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