Lennon urges Celtic to keep eyes on prize after break

NEIL LENNON is demanding his players keep their eye on the ball - not the door - as speculation grows over arrivals and departures at Celtic.

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Neil Lennon's Celtic are going for 10 Premiership wins in a row
Neil Lennon's Celtic are going for 10 Premiership wins in a row

With the future of Georgios Samaras and Joe Ledley still to be decided, and Stefan Johansen set to become the latest signing, the Hoops boss can see the dangers of distraction. Lennon has taken time out from trying to add to his squad to warn those already here they will have to be 'Well up for it if they are to make it 10 SPFL wins in a row this weekend.

He is convinced his Bhoys will return from their break in Turkey refreshed. But Lennon is equally sure Stuart McCall's Motherwell side will provide the sternest test.

And if the Hoops are not ready to pick up where they left off in their 4-0 win against St Mirren, their ambition to extend their winning run will be derailed.

Johansen has completed his medical and is expected to have his £2million move finalised today.

But Lennon will assess the 23 year-old midfielder in training before deciding if he can play any part in this match.

The Hoops boss would like to conclude even more deals before the weekend, with a striker still the top target.

But he will leave that to chief executive Peter Lawwell as he focuses on Saturday's game against the high-flying Steelmen. And he wants his players to follow his lead.

McCall's men have embarked on a magnificent six-game winning streak since they were thumped 5-0 by Celtic at Fir Park on December 6.

And Lennon is the first to flag up what a threat they now carry. He said: "It will be a very good game to get our teeth into now we are back.

"Motherwell have had a real turnaround in their results of late. They had a bit of blip, but Stuart McCall has done a wonderful job and they are coming strong again."

Lennon believes his own players are also firing on all cylinders, and wants a repeat of the power surge they delivered when they came off last January's mid-season break to Spain.

Then, they announced their return with a 4-1 win over Hearts, and more of the same in front of the Parkhead crowd would do nicely.

"I'd like our home form to improve in the second half of the season, if we can, in terms of goals," Lennon told the club's website. "But it's important we win on the back of returning from Turkey."

Lennon reflected on the break: "We won't know the benefits of it until we get back.

"But if we go by how we approached last season in Marbella, and the way we went into the second half of the season, I'm hoping for similar sorts of performances as we were very good after we came back from the break there."

Meanwhile, soon-to-be-Celt Johansen revealed he had spoken to his compatriot, former Hoops defender Thomas Rogne, about his imminent switch to Glasgow.

"I talked a little bit with Thomas because I played in the Norway Under-21s with him. I have heard from the national team guys that it's a fantastic city and the Celtic fans are unbelievable," said the 23-year-old.

"I hope it's going to work out and I'm looking forward to it."

Celtic have loaned 19-year-old midfielder Paul George to Championship challengers Hamilton until the end of the season. The attacking midfielder made his Celtic first-team debut in a League Cup win at Ross County in September 2011 but a double leg break has hindered his progress.


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