Neil Lennon switching focus to...

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Neil Lennon switching focus to nine-in-a-row quest


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Neil Lennon has stated his intention to field some of Celtic's fringe squad members for their Europa League trip to Romania this Thursday.

The Hoops manager has also admitted that after the match against Cluj, all of his focus will then switch to attempting to complete the club's second run of nine consecutive Scottish League title wins.

The Scottish champions are already into the Europa League last-32 as group winners and speaking the day after Sunday's League Cup final win against Rangers, Lennon revealed that he plans to rotate his squad.

"We've got a heavy month so we need to re-focus now," said Lennon. "We've got the game coming up on Thursday.

"That'll give me an opportunity to give other players a game and get some match fitness and match sharpness going into a big week next week [playing against] Hibs, Hearts, Aberdeen, that's a really important week.

"We're getting more-or-less a full complement of players coming back. You could see a couple of them yesterday were still off the pace and I understand that, but they'll have benefitted from the game time.

"We will really focus now on the league between now and the end of the season and I think they'll get a huge lift from yesterday, no question of that."

Lennon joked about giving Republic of Ireland international Jonny Hayes detention for revealing some details about his half-time team talk at Hampden Park.

After their poor first-half performance against the 'Gers, Hayes likened Lennon's demeanour to that of a school teacher who was disappointed, rather than angry, with his students.

"Jonny shouldn't be telling tales," joked Lennon. "He'll have to do detention for that."

"I don't need to rant and rave at these boys and I don't think that they deserve it. We were just making a few pointers where we felt that the first forty-five wasn't the standard that we set for ourselves, and they knew that.

"To rant and rave at them would have been pointless so myself and John [Kennedy - assistant manager] just went through a few things with them."

Neil Lennon unsure about Forster's future

Goalkeeper Fraser Forster's superb performance in the League Cup win has led to more questions regarding his Parkhead future.

The England international is on-loan to his old club from Southampton but Lennon is unsure as to whether he can make a permanent return to Celtic from the Saints.

"I'd love to," replied Lennon when asked if he would like to sign him permanently. "But he's not our player and then there's the affordability and then we need to sit down with him and see what he wants to do.

"The way he's playing at the minute, I think he's one of the best goalkeeper's around but I've said that ad nauseam and his performance yesterday came as no surprise to me because I've seen him do it many times before.

"Whether we can do a deal or not, remains to be seen."


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