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Lennon keeps focus on SPL

26 Sep 2012 12:17:29

Lennon keeps focus on SPL

Neil Lennon will put aside thoughts of next week's Champions League Group G fixture against Spartak Moscow in Russia to focus on going top of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League this weekend.

The Hoops boss made six changes from the team that beat Dundee 2-0 in the SPL at the weekend for Tuesday night's Scottish Communities League Cup third-round clash with Raith Rovers but there was no chance of a shock as striker Gary Hooper scored all four goals in the 4-1 win.

Lennon was able to welcome back midfielders Beram Kayal and Joe Ledley, neither of whom had played since August due to respective ankle and groin injuries and both will be in contention for the trip to Moscow.

However, his focus first of all is on leapfrogging SPL leaders Motherwell at Fir Park on Saturday. The Steelmen are one point ahead of Hibernian and two in front of the champions.

"I am going with a strong team at Motherwell, I want to win the game and then we will take it from there," said the Northern Irishman.

"We know how important the game against Motherwell is, before the Spartak game. If we win there is a possibility we could go top of the league and psychologically that will give everyone a lift. I think we came through last night unscathed."

Lennon was delighted with his side's performance and claimed Hooper "is good enough to play for England".

The former Scunthorpe player, 24, opened the scoring in the 12th minute with a trademark poacher's finish before Raith skipper Allan Walker levelled in the 27th minute with a deflected shot from 20 yards.

However, Hooper minimised any chances of a cup upset when he restored Celtic's lead before the break before completing his scoring spree in the second half against the valiant Irn-Bru First Division side.

Rovers manager Grant Murray praised his players for their performance, despite the defeat. He said: "It was always going to be a difficult task and when you go behind early it does make it an uphill battle but credit to the guys, they got themselves back in the game. But when Celtic get the second and third it does make it difficult."


PA

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