Seven-week wait for Celtic to hoist league trophy

CELTIC will have to wait until the last day of the season before they get their hands on the SPFL trophy - nearly seven weeks after they sealed the title.

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Scott Brown will lift the SPFL Premiership trophy on May 11
Scott Brown will lift the SPFL Premiership trophy on May 11

Dundee United are the visitors to Parkhead on the closing afternoon of the season, Sunday, May 11.

That's when skipper Scott Brown will get the chance to hoist the trophy.

The SPFL have now released the post-split fixtures, and revealed that unlucky Inverness will have to make a third visit to Parkhead - on Sunday, April 27 - to give Celtic an even split of 19 home and 19 away games.

Celtic's other games are away to Motherwell on Saturday, April 19, home to Aberdeen on Saturday, May 3 and away to St Johnstone on Wednesday, May 7.

Hoops boss Neil Lennon has called on their fans to show patience with the kids he plans to drip feed into the side in these games.

He has already given 19-year-old Darnell Fisher 10 starts.

Liam Henderson has been in the line up for the last three games, and the 17-year-old helped Celtic get over the line in the championship race with a goal against Partick Thistle when they clinched the title at Firhill on March 26.

Last weekend, it was the turn of 18-year-old Eoghan O'Connell to make the step up.

Marcus Fraser, John Herron and Filip Twardzik are in the frame to join these other rising stars in getting first-team action.

Though he is due to sit down this week with major shareholder Dermot Desmond and chief executive Peter Lawwell to establish his budget for the next transfer window, Lennon believes it is essential he takes the opportunity to assess the progress the development squad players are making.

He said: "The academy is important to me, because of the economic climate we are in.

"We are pretty pleased with the way the academy is operating and the players it is producing."

However, the manager does not want anyone making snap judgements on the kids when they are promoted to the top team.

He said: "When you use young players, you may not get the results you are looking for or the exhilarating performances we have shown with the senior players.

"But, it's important we give these young boys the confidence and experience.

"So the fans must understand why we are doing it and give the kids encouragement."

Lennon is aware Motherwell, Aberdeen and Dundee United are still heavily involved in a fight for Uefa Cup places, and has vowed to be even-handed with the teams he sends out to face them.

They travel to play United at Tannadice on Saturday in their final game before the split, and Lennon told the Celtic View: "We will go there with a positive frame of mind, to win the game.

"United have their own agenda with the Scottish Cup semi-final (against Rangers at Ibrox) looming, and I don't know what approach they will adopt.

"But we will approach the game in the right manner and look to win."

CELTIC'S POST-SPLIT FIXTURES

Sat, Apr 19: Motherwell (A), 12:45pm

Sun, Apr 27: Inverness CT (H), 3pm

Sat, May 3: Aberdeen (H), 3pm

Wed, May 7: St Johnstone (A), 7:45pm

Sun, May 11: Dundee United (H), 12:15pm

Football

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