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Lennon primed for 'perfect' derby
Published : 17 Sep 2011 08:35:05
Neil Lennon is relishing his trip into the lion's den on Sunday when he takes his Celtic side to Ibrox for the first Old Firm derby of the season.
The Hoops returned to Glasgow after losing 2-0 to Atletico Madrid in their Group I Europa League opener at the Vicente Calderon stadium on Thursday night. However, the Parkhead boss believes the fixture against Rangers is the perfect way for his players to bounce back - and he is looking forward to the passion and tensions that come with it.
"Going from the European game into the Old Firm game is probably the best thing that can happen," Lennon said.
"Sometimes you can come back from a European game and there is a flatness going about your SPL duties but with a game of this magnitude, it can be easy to motivate the players.
"I like the edge, it keeps you on your toes. I think everyone enjoys it. You love Old Firm games when you win and hate them when you lose.
"I enjoy going there, I always have done. It's a great venue to play football in and there is always a decent surface.
"It isn't intimidating but there is always an edge to the atmosphere which is always good. I think that is what football is all about, going to away grounds like Ibrox and Tynecastle and setting out your teams to do well. It is a good challenge.
"I have been delighted with the way the team has performed at Ibrox since I took over as manager. I think they have played very well and were unlucky not to win the last one.
"But it's a new season, Rangers are a bit fresher with new players and we have improved the squad as well, I think.
"It's the first Old Firm derby and you can't dictate which way it is going to go, but it won't be a season-breaker one way or the other."