CRAIG Samson reckons gaffer Danny Lennon's contract extension with St Mirren will inspire the players to greater heights ahead of their clash with Celtic.

Buddies keeper Samson was delighted to learn that manager Lennon had committed to the Paisley club until 2014.

The former Partick Thistle and Raith Rovers midfielder has impressed since moving into the Saints hotseat from lower league Cowdenbeath last year.

Samson, who was called up to the Scotland squad by national boss Craig Levein earlier this month, thinks the news is timely. For St Mirren travel to Glasgow on Saturday to take on second-placed Celtic in the SPL.

He said: "All the boys are delighted the manager has committed his future to St Mirren. He is in a great position to build for the future now.

"The chairman and the board of directors have seen how the manager goes about his business and how the team plays underneath him and they clearly like it.

"But ensuring he has signed a new contract they have given him the chance to build and improve. We have a good squad of players just now and the gaffer's philosophy is working.

"By giving him a new two-and-a-half-year deal he has the chance to add to that and develop further how we play. It certainly augurs well for the future."

Samson has flourished under the expert guidance of Lennon, who are in joint-fourth spot in the SPL table this season, since joining from Ayr last summer.

The 27-year-old stopper feels that he, and the rest of his Buddies team-mates, have a great deal to thank their manager for.

He said: "The gaffer is very good with each individual player, he knows what he wants every player to do and encourages them to do it. He has good relationships with them all.

"He is also shrewd tactically. He has a certain way that he wants us to play the game, but he also knows how to mix it up and change things around when the occasion demands it."

Samson knows that St Mirren, who were highly impressive in last week's 2-1 home win over Dunfermline, will need to change their game plan against Celtic.

But having drawn with Rangers at Ibrox this season, he is positive they can get a result.

He said: "Celtic have an amazing record at Parkhead and are playing really well just now. The strikers especially are on fire.

"But we know from having drawn 1-1 with Rangers this season that if we play as well as we can, work hard and give 100% and they have an off-day then we can get a result."