Lennon's focus not on finish line for Celtic

NEIL LENNON today insisted he has not even given a moment's thought to when Celtic can clinch their third consecutive league championship...

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Neil Lennon won't let his eyes drift towards the title prize just yet
Neil Lennon won't let his eyes drift towards the title prize just yet

Even though, suddenly, what is always considered a marathon has come down to a sprint.

After a weekend which saw nearest challengers Aberdeen and Motherwell both lose 3-1, Celtic's 2-0 victory against Hearts leaves the reigning champions 24 points clear.

They now need a maximum 15 more points from their remaining 12 games.

But that target could reduce significantly tomorrow night if Celtic can take something from their game at Aberdeen and Motherwell drop more points against St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.

However, Lennon refuses to look too far ahead, or even attempt to predict when his side can cross the finishing line.

He prefers to keep his focus purely on the game at Pittodrie and extending their winning run in the Premiership to sweet 16.

Lennon wants his players to follow his lead and said: "I am not looking at how many more points we need, or when we can win the title.

"I am just focusing on the unbeaten run we are on in the league, and the run of victories we have put together.

"I want to maintain that for as long as possible.

"We are proud of how far into the league campaign we have remained unbeaten.

"But we know we will face a stiff examination when we play Aberdeen tomorrow night.

"It's a great game to go into, but we must not look any further than that."

Lennon was delighted his players followed his instructions to concentrate only on ticking off every game between now and the end of the season as they defeated Hearts.

But, following the bruising encounter at Tynecastle, the Hoops boss will have to check on his walking wounded before heading north today.

Stefan Johansen was forced off late in the match against Hearts with damage to his left ankle.

Lennon said: "He took a slight knock, so we will have to see how he is for tomorrow."

Skipper Scott Brown, although lasting the 90 minutes, was another who limped away from Tynecastle.

With James Forrest and Emilio Izaguirre doubtful for tomorrow, plus Beram Kayal, Steven Mouyokolo and Mikael Lustig all long-time absentees, the Hoops - who have played significantly more games than any other Scottsh side in a season which, for them, kicked off back in mid- July - are having their resources stretched.

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