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Lennon: Celtic won't be victims of complacency
Neil Lennon warned the rest of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League that his strongly-fancied Celtic side will not be victims of complacency this season.
The Hoops are overwhelming favourites to retain their SPL title now that Old Firm rivals Rangers have been re-launched in the Irn-Bru Third Division.
Hearts boss John McGlynn claimed that the only way Celtic could be threatened would be if the champions took it too easy.
Lennon, speaking at the club's Lennoxtown training complex ahead of Saturday's SPL curtain raiser against Aberdeen at Parkhead, said: "It might be a fair comment but it is not going to happen.
"We pride ourselves on our professionalism and our standards that we have set over the last couple of years and we want to maintain that.
"Allied to that, we want to get through the next round in Europe and have a go at European football on top of the domestic league but there will be no complacency, that's for sure.
"We go into the season as favourites which is something that we are used to now.
"We are probably heavier favourites than we have been for a while but we will just concentrate on retaining the title, that is the priority.
"We had a great campaign last year, we are looking forward to tomorrow and the symbolic gesture of having the flag unfurled at the stadium which is always a nice occasion for everyone involved and then we get cracking."
The Northern Irishman dismissed the notion that his side's task will be easier in the absence of the Ibrox club.
"It is being completely disrespectful to the rest of the clubs in the SPL," he said.
"We did lose to teams other than Rangers last season, we lost to Hearts, Dundee United and Kilmarnock took points off us.
"So the competitive games have not been exclusive to Rangers.
"The majority of the games last season were competitive."
Lennon admitted he was "not surprised" by Manchester United and Arsenal's reported interest in Victor Wanyama, the 21-year-old Kenyan who can play at centre-back and midfield.
He said: "He is a quality young player but like I said before he is our player and we are very pleased to have him here."
The former Celtic skipper anticipates a tough test against the Dons.
He said: "We have had them watched and by all accounts they have been very impressive pre-season.
"I think Craig Brown has stabilised the club, he brought in Jonny Hayes and Niall McGinn to make them better and they have a good core of experience there as well."
Aberdeen manager Craig Brown claims facing Celtic is the ideal start to the season.
The home fans will be in celebratory mode when former long-serving Celtic defender and coach Sean Fallon unfurls the league flag ahead of the game in the week of his 90th birthday.
But Brown feels his own team have little to lose at Celtic Park.
"We go down to the game on Saturday with cautious optimism," the former Scotland manager said.
"We will acknowledge their achievements last season in winning the championship by applauding them onto the pitch but after that we will do our best to spoil the party.
"I expect Celtic to win the league with the resources they have but I hope it will not by a big victory margin.
"I am happy to start with Celtic away. When I was with Scotland and involved with the scheduling of the fixtures I used to always want to play one of the bigger nations away from home first.
"I felt if you go and you get something it is a good way to start the campaign and if you don't get anything you still have to play them at home.
"If someone asked who I would want to play first in the SPL I would probably have said Celtic away."
Brown has added wisely this summer by signing Irish forwards Niall McGinn and Jonny Hayes following a struggle to create chances last season, with experienced left-back Gary Naysmith coming in this week.
Brown retains hope of re-signing Mark Reynolds on loan but he admits he would have to exceed his budget or move players on, despite the retention of most of the value of the SPL's TV deals.
"I am not sure if we will be able to sign anyone else," he said.
"I was given a budget and after we signed Niall and Jonny there was money for one more player.
"If an exceptional situation arose we might be able to bring in one more but I have accepted we have signed three players and they will certainly enhance the squad."
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