Neil Lennon ready to give Celtic aces rest time

CELTIC boss Neil Lennon is set to ring the changes when his side play their penultimate Premiership fixture at St Johnstone tomorrow.

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  • Teemu Pukki could line up against St Johnstone tomorrow night
    Teemu Pukki could line up against St Johnstone tomorrow night
  • Teemu Pukki could line up against St Johnstone tomorrow night

The champions extended their lead at the top of the table with a 5-2 win over Aberdeen on Saturday and head to McDiarmid Park aiming to keep alive their dreams of reaching 100 league points this term.

Lennon's side are just five short of that mark after clinching their 30th win of a dominant Premiership campaign, but the majority of the squad who have taken the Hoops to their third straight title could be given the night off in Perth.

Emilio Izaguirre has already played his last game of the season as he gets set to join up with the Honduras national squad ahead of the World Cup finals in Brazil, with the likes of Teemu Pukki and Amido Balde possibly being given a rare run-out.

Celtic have shown no signs of easing off in recent weeks following their title triumph and, with a Parkhead party to come against Dundee United on Sunday, Lennon admits he has been delighted to see his squad keep their foot to the floor as they get set to bring the curtain down on another successful season.

He said: "I think the motivation comes from their inner professionalism, but there are times where you want to give them little reminders about things and make sure that they don't switch off.

"We were really disappointed with the first-half display against Motherwell, but since then the response has been very good.

"I am going to make changes to the team tomorrow with a view to using the squad and then bring the regular first-team boys back for Sunday.

"It is something we will discuss before the game, but I would like to give the likes of Pukki and Balde some game time.

"They have been on the periphery of things for a while and I think they deserve an opportunity to come in and play."

While Celtic only have their pride to play for in Perth tomorrow night, St Johnstone are still on the hunt for points to move up the top-flight standings.

Tommy Wright's side are just two points adrift of fifth-placed Inverness Caley Thistle and Lennon has been impressed with how the William Hill Scottish Cup finalists have performed this term.

He said: "They are a good team and Tommy has them playing well. They are a very difficult team to beat once they get their noses in front.

"They have got a cup final to look forward to as well, which is tremendous for them.

"Tommy is a great guy, I have known him for a long time and I am really pleased for him and pleased to see him doing so well."


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