Celtic V Raith at Celtic Park : Match Preview

24 September 2012 06:01
Celtic V Raith - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Lennon plans to rest Brown for cup clash Neil Lennon will manage Scott Brown's ongoing hip injury with a view to helping the Celtic skipper be ready for Scotland's crunch 2014 World Cup qualifiers next month. Craig Levein was unable to use the 27-year-old midfielder for the Scots' opening two home qualifiers against Serbia and Macedonia but the former Hibernian player has appeared in Celtic's last three matches. The Hoops boss will leave Brown out of the Scottish Communities League Cup third-round clash with Irn-Bru First Division side Raith Rovers at Parkhead to give him a rest and increase the chances of his availability for the club's upcoming Champions League games. However, Lennon is also keen to see his on-form captain return to Levein's squad for Scotland's away double-header in Wales and Belgium next month. "We feel it is an opportunity to give him a free week," said Lennon. "We should have enough cover. "There are a lot of games coming up and he needs rest after three games in a week. "We will try to base his programme around playing for us, obviously and making sure he is fit for Scotland as well. "We don't discourage players playing for their country. "Obviously Celtic come first in my priorities but I know Scotland have two big games coming up next month and Scott will want to play in both of them. "I just hope we can manage him to be able to play in them." Despite giving Brown the night off for the visit of Raith, Lennon was keen to stress how serious he was taking the threat of the Kirkcaldy men. Celtic have lost in the last two finals of the competition against Rangers and Kilmarnock and the former Northern Ireland international is looking to make it third time lucky. "All these early games are loaded with potential upsets and I don't want to be one of them," he said. "It is a game we are not taking lightly and I can't imagine I will be making too many changes if I can avoid it. "I will put a strong team out. I would like to get to the final of the competition again and go one better. "We done very well to get to the finals, we played well in both but it wasn't our day (in both of them). "I had Raith watched at the weekend. "They are a decent First Division side but with (manager) John McGlynn going (in the summer) it is a wee bit of a transitional period for them but they are decent opposition for us. "It took us a while to break Dundee down (at the weekend) and what we have to be mindful of is not to getting sloppy and complacent." Raith striker Pat Clarke is a major doubt as he continues to struggle with the calf injury that kept him out of Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Morton. Despite the loss, Rovers travel to Glasgow with confidence, with player/manager Grant Murray saying: "It was a very positive performance at Cappielow where we created chances but never took them." Murray added: "This is a big game for us and one that we want to win and get through to the quarter-finals. "I know that Celtic will want that as well and they are the massive favourites to win. If we are to do anything in this tie then we need everyone to play with great discipline."

Source: PA