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Celtic players desperate to win Cup for Neil Lennon

James Forrest insists every Celtic player is desperate to win the Scottish Cup for Neil Lennon and boost his chances of being manager next season.

This weekend's clash with Motherwell at Hampden is the Hoops' last chance to claim a trophy this season after losing out on both the Clydesdale Bank Premier League title and the Co-operative Insurance Cup to Rangers.

Despite his lack of silverware so far, Lennon appears to have the backing of the fans, who gave him a rapturous reception at Parkhead on Sunday, and he is keen to stay on despite a troubled campaign off the pitch.

Lennon, on a six-month rolling contract, expects to hold talks with the board about his future after the cup final.

And Forrest knows victory will only strengthen the hand of the manager, who has been the subject of death threats, parcel bombs and an attack from a supporter at Hearts in recent months.

The 19-year-old winger said: “You don't like anybody to go through what he's been through but he has dealt with it brilliantly. All the players want to win it for him.

“The gaffer gave me my debut last season and he has shown faith in me to play me this year. If it wasn't for him, I don't know where I would be now.

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“It's the same with all the boys in the team — everybody is 100% behind him.

“Everybody wants to see him get the job. Hopefully he stays on, that's what we all want.”

Forrest believes finishing the campaign on a high is also vital as a ‘thank you' to the supporters who have stood by the team.

He added: “The fans were unbelievable on Sunday. You would have thought we'd won the league, the way they were going on. We need to repay them on Saturday.

“To win the cup is a great way to end the season. I didn't play in the last cup final against Rangers so hopefully I can get myself a start on Saturday.

“You can say we have done well this season but we haven't won anything yet. If we win on Saturday, it would be a step forward.

“There is no more pressure than there has been all season. When you play for Celtic, you need to win things.

“Saturday's game is another game we need to win. There is no hiding from that.

“Losing the league by one point and losing the cup final to Rangers was hard to take. But, if we win on Saturday, it will lift the spirits a bit.”

Also lifting Forrest's spirits was a first call-up to the Scotland squad yesterday for next week's Carling Nations Cup games against Wales and the Republic of Ireland.


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