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Celtic aim to continue run against Kilmarnock

By Ronnie Esplin

Neil Lennon is well aware of the statistic that has been inevitably thrown the way of Celtic managers in recent years every time that Kilmarnock visit Parkhead.

The Ayrshire side have not won in the east end of Glasgow since December, 1955 and are believed by many to be no more than a warm-up for the Hoops ahead of the crunch Old Firm game at Parkhead next Wednesday.

Lennon, whose side have moved within four points of leaders Rangers, was waiting for the 1955 statistic to be mentioned.

“Every time they come here I get asked that,” he said. “Obviously it's a record that I would like to keep intact.

“We want to make it eight games in a row going into the Rangers game on the 28th.

“It is important to go into that game on the back of a win, just to maintain the run and keep the pressure on at the top of the table.

“Seven wins in a row is not an easy achievement but the way they are playing at the minute, it is going to take a good team to stop us now. But there is a long way to go in the season.”

While Killie have proved little of a threat at Celtic Park, Lennon remembers all too well the fixture at Rugby Park in October. The home side raced into a three-goal lead before the struggling visitors fought back to draw 3-3, a comeback which arguably kept the Lurgan man in a job.

“I was still disappointed to score three goals and not win the game,” said Lennon. “But to concede three goals in the manner in which we did was obviously concerning. I think we are a different animal now. In this run of wins you can pinpoint the games at Motherwell and Inverness as the start of when the confidence came into the team.

“We are at home and so we have good advantage but Kilmarnock are a dangerous team, they play very good football and they score goals as well.

“They have had some really good results this season already. They have beaten Rangers and they could easily have beaten us if we hadn't turned things round in the second half at Rugby Park.

“Kenny Shiels has been very shrewd in the players that he has brought in and he wants to play football, that is his philosophy. So that should make the game open and entertaining for the fans because we will play football as well.”

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