Belfast Telegraph

Friday 28 November 2014

Celtic vow to cover all bases in final flourish

Celtic's Paddy McCourt and Dundee United's John Rankin (right) fight for the ball during the Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League match at Tannadice Park, Dundee
Celtic's Paddy McCourt and Dundee United's John Rankin (right) fight for the ball during the Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League match at Tannadice Park, Dundee

Dundee United 0 Celtic 4: Neil Lennon revealed his Celtic side will prepare Champions League-style for next Sunday's William Hill Scottish Cup final against Hibernian at Hampden Park.

The Hoops finished off their Clydesdale Bank Premier League campaign with a convincing 4-0 win over Dundee United at Tannadice.

Kris Commons gave the champions the lead with a 30-yard free-kick in the 11th minute before Georgios Samaras helped himself to a double, the first with a deflected drive in the 17th minute and a header 10 minutes later.

With five minutes remaining substitute Anthony Stokes, on for Commons, completed the rout.

The Parkhead boss, who guided his side to the last 16 of the Champions League this season, said: "I was delighted with the performance. I got everything I wanted.

"The cup final is all on the day but we will prepare as best we can, we will prepare like it was a Champions League game.

"We will train intensely, even though it is the last game of the season there will be no switching off.

"We will do a lot of analysis with the players and obviously we will have a look at some of our recent games at Hampden to see how we can improve on things.

"We will cover all the bases."

Lennon, who will assess Charlie Mulgrew (knee), James Forrest (stiffness) and Adam Matthews (knee) next week, added: "We will know by next Thursday if they are fit and if they will come into the squad.

"Adam is the real problem because he hasn't played since Juventus (in February) so he is a major concern.

"He has been training but he picked up a little injury again on Friday and we will have to wait and see."

Samaras, meanwhile, does not believe his brace has secured his place in the cup final team and insists he will not be bothered if he is left out of the starting line-up next week as long as the Hoops win the trophy.

He said: "It is up to the gaffer if I start or not.

"If I play one minute or 90 minutes – everybody wants to win it and win it as a team.

"It is not about big egos and who is going to play or not, it is about the team."

• Manager Steve Lomas admits taking St Johnstone into Europe for a second year in a row felt like winning the league.

Saints' 2-0 win over Motherwell, combined with Inverness' defeat at Ross County, secured third spot in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League and the final Europa League berth.

The final whistle saw fans spill onto the McDiarmid Park pitch to celebrate with the players and Lomas was keen to pay tribute to his side.

He said: "To have two European campaigns on the spin for a club like St Johnstone is probably like winning the league for us.

"For a club like this in Perth, it's probably as good as it gets so we should enjoy it."

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Nightlife galleries

More

Latest Sport News

Stats Centre