Lass orders from Neil Lennon

GARY HOOPER is not the only Celtic striker who can prove to be worth his weight in goals.

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Lassad netted against Hearts at the weekend
Lassad netted against Hearts at the weekend

Neil Lennon is confident Lassad Nouioui is also about to hit the mother-load for the club.

The Hoops boss has shown great patience with the Tunisian international, who signed a two-year deal with the SPL champions at the end of August.

Lennon knew the 27 year-old ex-Deportivo La Coruna ace needed time to find his feet. But he reckons it is now time for Lassad to kick on, starting with the clash with Dundee United tonight.

He said: "I have challenged Lassad to give me more, and I think the penny has dropped with him.

"He came on at the weekend (against Hearts) and again his work rate was good and he got his goal.

"We think he is a good finisher, but there is more to his game than he probably has had the opportunity to show since he came here."

The cool finish which put Lassad's name on the score sheet at the weekend gave him his third goal for the club, but his first at Parkhead.

The first two came at Pittodrie and Tynecastle back in November – and all three have been stamped with a touch of genuine class.

Lennon is delighted Lassad is now showing in games what he has been displaying in training.

But he is convinced there is much more of this quality finishing to come, along with other valuable elements of his game.

Lennon said: "We know we have got a good player there. It was a great finish on Saturday, and that will help him.

"He took on board what I said in my talk with him. I think there is more we can get out of him, and he agreed with me."

Lennon added with a smile: "It is good that he agrees with me."

It is the willingness to work hard and refusal to let his head drop, despite a difficult start hindered by niggly injuries, which has kept Lassad in the forefront of Lennon's thoughts as he plans his assault on the prizes up for grabs in the second half of the season.

With Hooper expected to be the subject of even bigger offers than the £5million offered by Norwich last week, Hoops assistant boss Johan Mjallby has confirmed Burnley's Charlie Austin is on a short-list of possible replacements, though the price tag would be a serious obstacle.

But knowing he has an experienced and proven striker already on board is reassuring for Lennon.

Meanwhile, Celtic star Efe Ambrose was red carded in his first game for Nigeria at the African Cup of Nations.

The Super Eagles drew 1-1 with Burkina Faso.

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