EXCLUSIVE: Kennedy says Champions League lure will keep Lenny's Bhoys onside

CELTIC'S squad will survive intact during the January transfer window – thanks to the impending Champions League clashes with Italian giants Juventus.

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Kennedy hopes Hooper and Co will want to hang around for Juve encounter
Kennedy hopes Hooper and Co will want to hang around for Juve encounter

That was the prediction of Hoops coach John Kennedy today in response to ongoing speculation about the future of Neil Lennon's star players.

Fraser Forster, Gary Hooper, Beram Kayal and Victor Wanyama are all being monitored by major clubs in England and across Europe.

However, Kennedy is confident Lennon will be able to hold on to all of them thanks to the last 16 games with Serie A cracks.

He said: "Money talks and if a big bid comes in for a player then there isn't a lot a club can do regarding that.

"If other teams are interested in your players then you just have to accept it.

"I think it is a good thing that there is speculation about some of the players. It shows how well they have done and also how well the team has done.

"But I have to say if I was in the players' shoes I would be keen to get my teeth into Juventus and give that a go. I think that will be a big factor when the players decide what they will do in the future."

Kennedy added: "I just think the morale of the squad, the way the manager has got them playing and the team spirit they have are such that nobody will be keen to move too quickly.

"I think they are all happy where they are. That is what I see from my position. Everybody is very happy at training every day, happy in the environment they are in.

"The manager has got a good squad and a good staff as well so I certainly hope that come the end of the transfer window all the top players are still there.

"I think that will be very beneficial for the club going forward."

Kennedy played in Celtic's famous 0-0 draw with Barcelona in the Nou Camp back in 2004 – a result that propelled Martin O'Neill's side into the quarter-finals of the Uefa Cup.

And the former Scotland centre-half is convinced that, having beaten the Spanish superstars at Parkhead this season, Lennon's team is capable of beating Juventus if all his players stay in Scotland.

He said: "Look at the FA Cup games in England at the weekend. There were shocks all over the place.

"At the end of the day it comes down to whichever team performs the best over the two legs. You do need a bit of luck when it comes to this stage. You have to hope one or two of the Juventus players aren't on song.

"But you never know what will happen. Celtic just have to go out there and be positive. The manager will certainly have them well prepared for it."

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