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Neil Lennon targets Celtic treble

By Ronnie Esplin

Neil Lennon insists he is targeting trophies rather than records as his Celtic side steamroller their way to a possible treble.

Victory over struggling Dunfermline at Parkhead tonight will extend the Hoops' domestic winning run to 19 games and take them 20 points clear of administration-hit Rangers at the top of the Scottish Premier League.

With little doubt as to where the championship will end up this season, thoughts have turned to records and three points against the Pars will be Celtic's 13th consecutive win in all competitions - equalling the mark of Martin O'Neill's side of 2004, in which Lennon was a lynchpin.

However, the Parkhead boss, who has agreed a new three-year contract with number two goalkeeper Lukasz Zaluska, said: “It is something I haven't been aware of, but if we can do that then great.

“Martin was and is an exceptional manager and he had a very good team here at the time. To emulate that record would be fantastic for this group of players, but these numbers mean nothing.

“The performances and results mean everything to me, the records don't mean a great deal at all.”

When the conversation returned to records, the former Celtic skipper bristled before playing down comparisons between the class of 2004 and his side.

“You keep asking me about records, I'm not interested,” he said. “I don't care. We want to win the league, we would like to win the League Cup — we are in the final of that — and we would like to win the Scottish Cup, which we are the holders of.

“We have a lot to play for ,but I have no interest in breaking records, we are just interested in winning trophies this year.

“The two teams are different. The team I played in was a lot more experienced than this one.

“When you looked across the dressing room and you seen Sutton, Larsson, Lambert and Petrov, that gave you a lot of confidence.

“The players here have a lot of belief and confidence in each other as well, but we haven't got anywhere near emulating what that team did.”

Asked to project forward to possibly clinching the title at Ibrox next month, Lennon insisted it would be “just the way the cookie crumbles” before claiming he would rather win it at Celtic Park.

The SPL and Strathclyde Police harbour fears that the title is on course to be clinched by the Hoops against Rangers in Govan on March 25.

Since the Light Blues won the league in an ill-tempered match at Celtic Park in 1999 there have been attempts to schedule the Old Firm fixtures early so they do not coincide with the conclusion of the title race, but with Rangers being deducted 10 points for going into administration last week those plans may have been scuppered.

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