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Celtic are determined to stretch league lead over Rangers, insists Lennon


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On target: Celtic’s Christopher Jullien (second left) celebrates scoring his side’s second goal against Hearts

On target: Celtic’s Christopher Jullien (second left) celebrates scoring his side’s second goal against Hearts

PA

On target: Celtic’s Christopher Jullien (second left) celebrates scoring his side’s second goal against Hearts

Neil Lennon has brushed off suggestions that complacency is now Celtic's greatest enemy, insisting his hungry squad are looking to stretch their 10-point lead even further as they march towards another title.

The Hoops took full advantage of Rangers' slip-up at Kilmarnock on Wednesday night with a 5-0 pasting of Hearts to put them firmly on course for nine-in-a-row.

But even with such a healthy lead, the Ulsterman says there is little chance his team will be happy to cruise towards the finish line.

"Are the boys going to get complacent?" he asked. "I doubt it very much.

"They will maybe want to try to increase (the lead) if they can. I think that's the mode of thinking here - no complacency, don't take anything for granted.

"You're fresh, you're fit, you look hungry, let's stay that way."

Parkhead erupted with joy when news of Killie's late winner filtered its way up the M77 from Rugby Park to Glasgow's east end.

Lennon refused to lend his voice to those celebrations, quickly making it clear after the Jambos dismantling that there is work to be done for his side to see off Steven Gerrard's team and clinch their latest crown.

It is the same kind of level-headed thinking that saw the Celtic boss refuse to over-react when his side were stunned at home by Rangers in the final game before the winter break.

But he admits it does help having perennial winners such as skipper Scott Brown, Callum McGregor and James Forrest in the dressing room to ensure eyes do not wander off the prize.

"It's about keeping an even keel because there will be peaks and troughs as they go along," said Lennon, whose men travel to Aberdeen on Sunday.

"There's more difficult games to come and then we've got the split, so there's a lot of football still to go.

"(To continue winning year after year) is a hard habit to develop with people asking questions of you all the time.

"Motivation is high, so it's a good habit to have, and very pleasing obviously.

"It shows they are still not willing to give anything up and want to take on all challengers. The desire in the team is really impressive.

"The willingness to keep going right to the final whistle and score more goals was fantastic last night.

"We even had Kris Ajer galloping down the wing right to the end.

"We're in a good place at the minute but we're not getting carried away. It's just one game at a time. It's just good having those players who have been there and done it many, many times.

"Sometimes you think they will come off it. They have done everything that they want to do but there's a deep rooted motivation to keep going and going.

"That's to their credit. It brings out the best in the rest of them as well."

Belfast Telegraph