Celtic V St Mirren at Celtic Park : Match Preview

21 March 2014 05:01
Celtic V St Mirren - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Lennon 'has list of targets'

Neil Lennon is looking to add up to five new players to his Celtic squad in the summer from an "extensive list" he has drawn up.

The Hoops will take another step towards clinching the Scottish Premiership title with a win against St Mirren at home on Saturday, but the Parkhead manager is already pressing ahead with plans for next season.

The Northern Irishman expects to lose some players at the end of the current campaign, with forward Georgios Samaras out of contract at the end of the season and speculation surrounding the future of Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk and keeper Fraser Forster, both of whom have been in fine form this season.

To that end, Lennon has lined up "more than several" replacements.

"We have an extensive list of players that we are looking at with a view to bringing here in the summer," he said. "We are certainly looking at four or five positions.

"I am pretty sure that players will be leaving in the summer. I have no indication of how many but players will be leaving, I would imagine.

"Striker is always a priority position but at the minute we have very good players in that position.

"Leigh (Griffiths) is just in the door and he is really settling in well and we are very pleased with the contribution he is making. But if there is a quality striker out there that we can afford, and we feel can make us better, we will pursue it."

Lennon, however, described reports linking him to Manchester United forward Federico Macheda as "wild speculation".

Giovanni Bia, the agent of the 22-year-old who is currently on loan at Birmingham, was quoted as saying that both Celtic and Rangers are interested in the player.

However, the former Celtic skipper said: "There is nothing in that story at all. We have been aware of his availability over previous transfer windows but have not pursued that.

"You never say never but it is just wild speculation at the minute."

Virgil van Dijk returns from suspension for Celtic's Scottish Premiership clash with St Mirren at Parkhead on Saturday.

Midfielder Nir Biton and wide-man James Forrest remain on the sidelines with groin injuries, while Derk Boerrigter has had a scan on his abdomen following a strain and will also miss out.

Emilio Izaguirre and Georgios Samaras have been under the weather the past couple of days and will be assessed.

Former Manchester United midfielder Eric Djemba-Djemba has shaken off a groin strain to rejoin the St Mirren squad.

The Cameroonian missed last week's 3-2 defeat to Dundee United at Tannadice and will be joined in Danny Lennon's group by skipper Jim Goodwin, who will face his old side after completing a two-match ban.

However, hernia victim David van Zanten will sit out the Scottish Premiership clash as he works his way back to fitness.

St Mirren midfielder John McGinn says on-loan Aberdeen striker Josh Magennis deserves every bit of stick he receives for his League Cup final celebrations.

Despite moving to Paisley in January, Magennis joined up with his old Pittodrie mates for last Sunday's League Cup final and was spotted sprinting across the Parkhead pitch to join his jubilant former team-mates as they partied after beating Inverness on penalties.

But his new Saints colleagues have been quick to dub the Northern Irishman 'John Terry' in reference to the Chelsea captain's antics when the Blues won the Champions League in 2012.

The former England skipper stripped off his tracksuit to reveal a full playing kit, even though he was suspended for the Munich final.

McGinn laughed as he claimed the ribbing Magennis has suffered at their Ralston training ground this week will ensure he thinks twice about joining in with the Dons' celebrations if Derek McInnes' men also go on to win the William Hill Scottish Cup later this season.

He said: "Josh has taken a lot of stick this week, and rightly so. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw him doing a 100-metre sprint over the pitch to hug his ex-manager.

"He played 10 minutes in the competition, which doesn't merit a mad sprint across the pitch.

"The fans haven't been giving him as much stick as the players have. He's been absolutely terrorised this week and rightly so. I doubt he'll be doing the same again if Aberdeen get to the Scottish Cup final."

Source: PA

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