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Anxious Neil Lennon waits for Ibrox derby decision

Neil Lennon will find out on Monday if his Ibrox Old Firm derby bow as a manager will be spent in the stands.

The Celtic boss’ appeal against a touchline ban, set originally for December 7, had been postponed due to the severe weather conditions in Scotland and will finally go ahead — again weather permitting — this Monday.

Should Lennon fail in his appeal, then the ban will kick in seven days following the date of the meeting, meaning that he will miss the December 29 encounter with Motherwell and the January 2 clash with fierce rivals Rangers.

Lennon is appealing his sending off in the 2-0 defeat to Hearts last month.

However, the former Northern Ireland international also faces a charge of “excessive misconduct” as noted by referee Craig Thompson in his post-match report, with Lennon having been embroiled in a confrontation with fourth official Steven McLean.

If found guilty of that offence, Lennon will face a further two-game ban.

Meanwhile, Joe Ledley has targeted a clean sweep of wins over the festive season to keep Celtic's SPL title hopes on course.

The Hoops trail leaders Rangers by three points but get the chance to go level — for a couple of hours at least — against Hamilton in Saturday's lunchtime kick-off at New Douglas Park.

A re-arranged fixture at Celtic Park against Kilmarnock next Tuesday is then followed by home games against St Johnstone and Motherwell before the Old Firm derby at Ibrox.

“The Christmas period is one of the most vital parts of the campaign and can make or break your season,” said Ledley.

“There are always a lot of games in a short amount of time.

“We have games on December 21, Boxing Day, December 29 and then on January 2.

“You can get injuries and suspensions, while some teams might be missing key players.

“It's a vital part of the season and a chance to gain points on other teams. If we can get a 100 per cent record over the Christmas period it would be a great achievement. So it's massive.

“Obviously we all want to win the league so this is important for the rest of the season.”

Virtually an ever-present in the Celtic midfield since his summer transfer, Ledley is hoping to keep injury-free for the second part of the season.

“I have managed to keep away from injuries so hopefully I can continue this to the end of the season,” said the former Cardiff City star.

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