Lennon wants Celtic sprint to the finish

NEIL LENNON has called for one final push from his championship-chasing players.

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Neil Lennon's side could reach 100 points in the Premiership
Neil Lennon's side could reach 100 points in the Premiership

With Celtic already 21 points clear in the SPFL, the Hoops boss admits he fears the season could fizzle out.

Lennon is concerned that would allow all the hard work to get them into this unassailable position to be forgotten.

He is determined not to allow that to happen as his Bhoys close in on three-in-a-row.

Lennon said: "It's always a worry in the back of your mind, once you win the championship how the players will be. But we still have targets - including reaching 100 points - and we'll keep going right to the end.

"I think you saw that the way they bounced back from the defeat at Aberdeen with the 5-0 victory over Inverness before our break."

The champions are on schedule to get over the line within the next four games.

But the champagne will be uncorked even sooner if Aberdeen - who are on League Cup final duty this weekend - drop points.

Lennon wants a sprint to the finish from his players, and is already weighing up who needs to make more appearances to qualify for championship medals.

Stefan Johansen, Leigh Griffiths, Beram Kayal, and Darnell Fisher - sent off in an Under-20s game against Hearts earlier this week - are among the Bhoys who have not yet played enough games.

Lennon confirmed: "We are aware of that, and we will look at it further down the line, for sure."

After another run out with the Under-20s, Kayal and Derk Boerrigter are both back in contention for tomorrow's match.

And, with Nir Biton and James Forrest both sidelined with groin injuries picked up while on international duty, and Virgil van Dijk serving a one-game ban, Lennon has some reshuffling to do.

He will go with his strongest available line -up at Rugby Park, but has promised his fringe men and rising stars that their chance will come.

Lennon confirmed: "After the title is won, it will give me the opportunity to play some of the other lads."

The manager was disappointed that Biton and Forrest were both crocked while away with Israel and Scotland respectively, but is relieved they were the only players of the 13 first-team men on international duty to come back reporting any injuries.

And, after the mini-break while the Scottish Cup quarter-finals were played, he can sense his Bhoys are itching to pick up the winning thread again.

"We are looking forward to getting back playing," said Lennon.

"Our away form has been very good this season, and it's game that will whet the appetite for everyone.

"You get that excitement and a little bit of a buzz when you know you are almost within grasp of the title, and we are just starting to feel that around the place now."

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