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Lennon demands strong finish from Celtic

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18 Apr 2014 00:31:57

Lennon demands strong finish from Celtic

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has warned his players the hard work isn't over yet, despite his side having already wrapped up the Scottish Premiership title.

The Hoops sealed their third championship in a row last month but still have five games to play, starting with a visit to high-flying Motherwell on Saturday.

The Fir Park side are still battling it out with Aberdeen for second place and a shot at European competition next season.

Lennon knows some of his players may already be thinking about their summer holidays but after a two-week break due to last weekend's Scottish Cup semi-finals, the Hoops boss is demanding a strong finish to the season for the post-split fixtures against their fellow top-six sides.

"We have good games coming up with the top five now, and they will all be really good tests for us, whether they are home or away," said Lennon, whose side demolished Motherwell 5-0 on their last visit to Fir Park in December.

"They have a real fight on for second place and are in a brilliant position at this stage in the season.

"However, they will have been disappointed to have been 2-0 up and lose 3-2 at St Mirren in their last game, and they will be looking to bounce back from that.

"But, we will be strong again, and I am enjoying watching us play just now."

The Celtic manager says he plans to utilise some of his fringe players in the final five matches as well as rewarding one or two of the rising stars from the club's youth sides.

However, he insists he will not lose sight of the need to keep the fans happy.

"We might just look at tweaking the system a little bit," Lennon said.

"But what I am looking for is the players to entertain and play winning football.

"I don't want to change the team too much as the players are playing well.

"We will see what the two-week break brings, but they should come back fresh and ready to go again."

Elsewhere on Saturday, the battle to avoid finishing second from bottom and going into a relegation play-off place heats up in the bottom six.

Partick Thistle, who travel to Rugby Park to take on Kilmarnock, currently occupy 11th place but just four points separate them from Hibernian in seventh.

St Mirren, a point above Thistle, take on Hibs while relegated Hearts welcome Ross County to Tynecastle.

In the top six Aberdeen go to Inverness Caledonian Thistle and St Johnstone take on Dundee United in a dry run of next month's Tayside derby Scottish Cup final following their successes in their respective semi-final ties last weekend.

Fixtures (1400 GMT unless otherwise stated)

Friday

Inverness CT v Aberdeen (1845 GMT)

Saturday

Motherwell v Celtic (1145 GMT), Hearts v Ross County, Kilmarnock v Partick Thistle, St Johnstone v Dundee United, St Mirren v Hibernian


AFP

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