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Lennon: No Celtic complacency

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31 Dec 2012 14:46:00

Lennon: No Celtic complacency

Neil Lennon denied Celtic's defeat against Hibernian at Easter Road on Saturday was a "reality check" for his players.

The Hoops' six-game winning run in all competitions came to an end when they lost 1-0 to Leigh Griffiths' fine early strike. It was the champions' first defeat in Leith in four years and once again hinted that Lennon's men, still six points ahead of Inverness with a game in hand at the top of the Scottish Premier League, struggle occasionally to retain their domestic focus in the absence of a title challenge from traditional rivals Rangers, now playing in the Scottish Third Division. However, ahead of the visit of Motherwell on Wednesday, the Parkhead boss said:

"We didn't need a boot up the backside, that was not a reality check.

"There was no complacency from what I could see.

"I would take the same intensity of performance and the desire.

"There was a real hunger to win the ball back, there was a real hunger to win the game, it just didn't drop for us.

"The players will be highly motivated for Motherwell, it is another big game for us.

"There are a lot of teams playing well and scoring goals in the SPL. "Stuart McCall has done a brilliant job, with the squad he has got, it is underestimated sometimes, but they are very attractive to watch and they are a dangerous team."

The former Celtic skipper is hoping to have defenders Charlie Mulgrew (rib) and Adam Matthews (ankle) back for the visit of the Steelmen. Midfielder Kris Commons (thigh), winger James Forrest (hamstring) and striker Anthony Stokes (ankle) remain out but Lennon is hoping the forthcoming winter break - where the Hoops will spend part of the time in Spain - will allow them to recover. He said:

"The break will be nice when it comes.

"It will be for the injured players more than anyone.

"Forrest, Commons, Stokes, we will have those players back hopefully by the time the Hearts game comes around and the squad will look a lot stronger.

"Hopefully Mulgrew and Matthews will be okay for Wednesday, we will see how they are."


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