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Celtic manager keeps cool over St Mirren challenge

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15 Dec 2012 02:16:54

Celtic manager keeps cool over St Mirren challenge

Neil Lennon says he won't take Saturday's Scottish Premier League fixture with St Mirren lightly despite his impressive record against the Paisley side.

Celtic have won every encounter with the Buddies without conceding a goal since Lennon took charge of the Glasgow giants in 2010, including a 5-0 win at St Mirren Park in October.

However, the manager knows these impressive statistics will be rendered irrelevant when the match gets underway.

"St Mirren are a good model for a lot of SPL clubs. I think they are one of the better teams to watch in the division. They are dangerous," Lennon said.

"For some reason, over the last five or six games, things have gone our way. But I keep saying that records are there to be broken and we will take things as seriously as any other game.

"I am looking to improve our home form now and am looking for another good performance on the back of Kilmarnock last week.

"There have been games which have been very close so it's just all on the day and if we can replicate the form we showed in our last fixture with St Mirren then we should be ok."

While Celtic have excelled on the road, they have struggled for consistency at home in the league.

But without the distraction of the Champions League football until February, the Celtic manager wants that to change.

"You can look for all sorts of excuses and reasons for it," Lennon said.

"It's something we need to remedy -- we want to remedy.

"Our away form has been fantastic. I think sometimes the atmosphere, particularly after the European games, is obviously flatter. And the weight of expectation and heavy load of games plays its part in that as well.

"We have to start playing better at home. Up until Kilmarnock beat us, we hadn't lost at home for over a year so I want that back as quickly as possible."

Celtic have defeated Barcelona and Spartak Moscow at home this season but lost to Kilmarnock and Inverness in the SPL.

Kris Commons is ruled out the match with injury and James Forrest won't return to training until next week.

Adam Matthews was substituted in the midweek Scottish Cup win over Arbroath with a groin injury but should be fit for the match against St Mirren while Paddy McCourt, Thomas Rogne and Tony Watt are all in contention following injury lay-offs.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Inverness Caledonian Thistle will look to continue their recent impressive form that has seen them rise to second in the table when they travel to Tannadice to take on Dundee United.

Aberdeen will attempt to break back into the top four when they host Kilmarnock at Rugby Park, St Johnstone welcome Hearts to McDiarmid Park while only goal difference separates fourth-placed Hibernian from opponents Motherwell ahead of their clash at Easter Road.

Basement club Dundee take on Ross County at Victoria Park.

Fixtures (1400GMT)

Saturday

Aberdeen v Kilmarnock, Celtic v St Mirren, Dundee Utd v Inverness CT, Hibernian v Motherwell, Ross County v Dundee, St Johnstone v Hearts


AFP

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