Samaras eyes regular Celtic start

23 September 2010 09:00

Georgios Samaras grabbed a hat-trick in the 6-0 thrashing of Inverness at Celtic Park on Wednesday night then claimed he is ready to battle for a place in the team.

Manager Neil Lennon made six changes to his side for the visit of Caley in the Co-operative Insurance Cup third round and was delighted as they produced their most prolific form of the season.

"It will be a big, big season in all three competitions and everybody must be ready for the time that the gaffer comes and says to them that he is going to play them," Samaras said. "And I am here to give 100% for the team whenever the gaffer asks me."

The Greece striker showed why the Lennon is looking to offer him a new contract with a hat-trick but Anthony Stokes also did his chances of retaining his place no harm with a double - one from the spot - while fit-again Gary Hooper scored his first competitive goal for Celtic since signing from Scunthorpe in the summer.

The former Manchester City striker added: "We have a really good squad. Scott Brown was not playing and Ki Sung-yueng took his place and for me he was man of the match.

"Daryl Murphy didn't play and Gary Hooper did so it shows that we have strength in our squad."

Lennon looked likely to get rid of the enigmatic Greek following the shock Active Nation Scottish Cup semi-final defeat to Ross County last season but admits he has had a change of heart since becoming permanent boss.

"Yes, Samaras has changed my perception," said Lennon. "His attitude pre-season was fantastic and hopefully we will talk to his representatives next month about a new contract.

"There were clubs who were interested in him in the summer but he said he didn't want to go, he wanted to stay and prove he is good enough to be here and he has done that.

"Hopefully this will give him a lift."

Source: PA

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