Milestone target of monument man Lennon at Celtic

NEIL LENNON can mark up his 150th victory as manager of Celtic this weekend.

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Lennon has been in charge of 213 matches at Celtic
Lennon has been in charge of 213 matches at Celtic

His Bhoys are determined to make sure he doesn't have to wait any longer to reach this milestone, having had the celebrations put on hold as Aberdeen defeated the Hoops in last weekend's William Hill Scottish Cup tie.

Lennon has overseen 149 victories in the 213 matches played in the league, Scottish Cup, League Cup, Champions League and Europa League since he took over from Tony Mowbray in March 2010.

No one at the club wants to see any more minuses put in the manager's CV. And, with their title surge carrying them to 13 straight wins - the last 11 without conceding - it is now full steam ahead to get over the line in the championship race.

Some players have more incentive than others to get the job done.

Emilio Izaguirre has another appearance at the World Cup Finals awaiting him this summer.

Lennon is already contemplating giving the Honduran full-back some early time off to ensure he is ready for Brazil - and for his return to the Hoops at the start of next season, with one eye on Champions League qualifiers in July.

Even though his involvement in the summer soccer fiesta is likely to mean he misses the opening qualifying rounds of the Champions League.

But, for now, Izaguirre is only focusing on making it three consecutive league titles - and the sooner he can help bring another trophy to Paradise, the happier he will be.

He said: "I will keep trying my best to help us win the championship as early as possible for our confidence.

"Only when the season is finished will I think about the World Cup."

The defeat by the Dons has acted as a timely reminder to everyone that, although they are 21 points clear with 14 games to go, no one is going to stand back and allow Celtic to make a triumphant march towards the prizes.

With a re-arranged visit to Pittodrie coming up in a fortnight, Lennon and his players know the importance of starting to rebuild another winning run.

Izaguirre said: "I respect every team in Scotland and expect a hard game from all 11 teams in the league.

"All the players want to do well and beat Celtic.

"But this is good for

us as it makes us have a good game."

Lennon is warning his side that St Johnstone will be more than ready to exploit any lack of concentration by players who have been reminded there is no time to lick their wounds after exiting another competition.

The manager is considering freshening up the side and give game time to players who have been itching to get involved.

However, striker Holmbert Fridjonsson will have to wait a little longer before he can make his first team debut.

The Icelander's progress was hampered by an injury soon after he joined from Fram Reykjavik last month.

He has steadily been building up his fitness in Under-20's matches.

But yesterday, he suffered a foot injury as the young Hoops defeated Kilmarnock 1-0, and will now be assessed to see how long he must return to the sidelines.


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