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Lennon cools talk of Celtic enjoying unbeaten season

NEIL Lennon has played down talk of Celtic going the whole of the Scottish Premiership campaign unbeaten ahead of the trip to St Johnstone today.

The Hoops' 2-0 win over Hearts at Parkhead on Saturday stretched their run to 16 games and at the pre-match press conference for the McDiarmid Park match, skipper Scott Brown said: "We want to go the whole season without getting beat. We want to get as many points on the board as possible."

However, the Hoops boss applied the brakes to any notions of a runaway title season.

"It is something that people talk about very prematurely," said Lennon, whose team are already 10 points clear of Dundee United at the top of the table.

"I wouldn't say (it was) impossible but it is a very difficult thing to do so I wouldn't get too far ahead of ourselves on that.

"We are 16 games into a 38-game season so we are not even halfway there, so it is still a lot to ask for.

"What I am pleased about is that we are unbeaten (in the league) since the start of the season which, considering the amount of games we have had, is a very good effort so far.

"What I want to do in the festive period is to try to increase the gap at the top and give ourselves a bit of leeway going into the break we are taking in January and be ready to go again."

Brown was speaking partly in the context of what will keep the Parkhead club going after Christmas given that they are out of Europe and odds-on to retain their title.

However, Lennon believes a rather chastening experience in the Champions League this season, where the Parkhead side finished bottom of their section with three points from six games which included a 6-1 defeat by Barcelona in the Nou Camp, should provide plenty of motivation.

"We are still a very long way from where we want to be and the Champions League showed that," he said. "While we had a brilliant year the year before (getting to the last 16), it wasn't so great this year in the Champions League.

"We have set the bar very high and we want to keep pushing the players to strive to be a consistent Champions League team and competing well in the Champions League and to do that, we have to play consistently well."

The Northern Irishman believes Celtic are set to undergo two of the stiffest tests of the season.

"We have two very tough games coming up, St Johnstone away and Inverness away," he said.

"This will really test the players but they are good tests in my view.

"The aim is obviously to keep the unbeaten run going and try to get a decent performance in both games."

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