Leading question for Neil's troops ...

NEIL LENNON has set his side the challenge of finishing 2013 in style by retaining their 11-point lead in the Premiership.

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Neil Lennons's Celtic are 11 points clear in the Premiership
Neil Lennons's Celtic are 11 points clear in the Premiership

As he heads north for tomorrow's game at Inverness, the Celtic boss is desperate to extend their unbeaten run in the league into 2014.

However, with John Hughes now in charge of Caley Thistle, and the blustery conditions likely to be a real eye-opener for some of his new Bhoys, Lennon expects as much a test of character as ability awaits them.

He admits he is not quite sure what an Inverness side under Yogi will represent after so long with Terry Butcher at the helm there.

"It is difficult to follow someone who has been as successful as Terry," said Lennon. "He was really part of the furniture and left a huge imprint.

"John will want to hit the ground running, and there is no better game to do it than against Celtic.

"But we have our own targets and agenda and will go there as strong as we can."

He hopes to have a few more players available as they come back from injury and illness, and James Forrest could be on from the start.

Charlie Mulgrew and Derk Boerrigter are still receiving treatment, but Lennon wants to get 90 minutes out of Adam Matthews, who lasted less than an hour of the 1-0 win over St Johnstone on Thursday.

He said: "Adam is still recovering from a virus and was a little bit heavy-legged in the second half.

"He should be okay for tomorrow, and James will be in contention to start.

"But the squad is a bit thin with six or seven out at the minute."

Which makes their current run - five straight wins domestically in December without conceding a goal - all the more laudable.

Lennon said: "That's 17 unbeaten in the league now, and I can't ask any more from them."

"To go through a season (unbeaten) would be virtually impossible.

"But where we are at the minute is very, very pleasing and the players' attitudes fantastic."

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