Refreshed Celtic target extending unbeaten run

17 January 2014 01:46

Celtic get back to Scottish Premiership action this weekend as they look to continue their unbeaten start of the season against in-form Motherwell.

The Hoops took a week off from league action to take a winter break in Turkey and manager Neil Lennon hopes his players can pick up where they left off.

The Scottish champions won nine matches in a row before their break and haven't conceded in eight domestic matches.

However, the Parkhead club face a rejuvenated Motherwell side, who have won their past six matches on the spin since a 5-0 thrashing from Celtic at the beginning of December.

And Lennon knows his side will face a stern test if they are to extend their unbeaten league run to 21 games.

"Motherwell have had a real turnaround in their results of late," Lennon said.

"They had a bit of blip around December time but Stuart McCall has done a wonderful job there and they are coming strong again.

"He's lost some important players last year, and like all clubs, it takes a bit of time when new boys come in but they look like they have started to find their feet at that level.

"It will be a very good game to get our teeth into now we are back. I would like our home form to improve in the second half of the season if we can in terms of goals, but it's important we win the game on the back of returning from Turkey."

Celtic returned home in buoyant mood after narrowly losing out to Turkish champions Galatasaray in the Antalya Cup final.

Lennon declared the break a success and hopes it will provide fresh impetus for the second half of the campaign.

"We all had a good time, and the lads got plenty of work in and plenty of recovery as well," he said.

"The weather was conducive to what wanted to do. We got everything out of the trip that we wanted.

"We won't know the benefits of it until we get back, but if we go by how we approached last season in Marbella, and the way we went into the second-half of the season, then I'm hoping for similar sorts of performances as we were very good after we came back from the break there."

Celtic will have new signing Stefan Johansen available for selection after the Norwegian midfielder sealed his transfer from Stromsgodset in midweek.

Elsewhere on Saturday, second-placed Aberdeen will want to continue their recent run of good form when they host Inverness Caledonian Thistle at Pittodrie.

The Dons have won eight of their past nine matches while Inverness are without a win in five games.

Hibernian will aim to get back to winning ways after suffering their first defeat since Terry Butcher took charge against Aberdeen last weekend when they welcome St Mirren to Easter Road.

Bottom of the table Hearts continue their quest to overcome the 15-point deficit they started the season with when they travel to McDiarmid Park to take on St Johnstone.

Fixtures (1500GMT)


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

Source: AFP