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Celtic have it all to do to reel in Rangers at Premiership summit, says Neil Lennon

We have a lot of work to do so Old Firm clash can wait, says Celtic boss


Tough battle: Neil Lennon is wary of an upset when Celtic face Hamilton today

Tough battle: Neil Lennon is wary of an upset when Celtic face Hamilton today


Tough battle: Neil Lennon is wary of an upset when Celtic face Hamilton today

Neil Lennon's Celtic side are back on form but he expects a tough battle at depleted Hamilton this afternoon.

The Hoops beat Premiership basement side Ross County 2-0 at Parkhead on Wednesday night to make it four wins in row, albeit their William Hill Scottish Cup final victory over Hearts on Sunday was through a penalty shoot-out.

The champions will look to keep the pressure on Rangers, who are 16 points clear at the top of the table having played three games more.

Brian Rice's side lost 2-0 at home to Livingston on Wednesday to remain four points ahead of County and have 10 players out through either injury or Covid-19 issues.

However, the Parkhead boss believes Accies are always capable of an upset.

Lennon said: "That is Hamilton. They will lose a couple and then win when you least expect them to.

"That is the danger of this game.

"Physically they are a strong team, they are well-drilled defensively by Brian and at set-plays they are a handful, so it is going to be a difficult game.

"It is not a foregone conclusion by any means, but we know what is at stake. It is always a stuffy game.

"We beat them well (5-1 at home) at the start of the season but what we are looking for is another good performance, another win, but we have to be on our mettle because it is a tough place to go and they will be very motivated to get something from us.

"You have to go there, get your attitude right, play the pitch and conditions the right way.

"We are on a decent wee run at the minute and we have to keep going."

Lennon refused to look any further than Hamilton, despite an Old Firm game at Ibrox looming next Saturday.

He said: "We are still 16 points behind so we have a lot of work to do. There is no point thinking about what is going to happen against Dundee United or Rangers, we have to focus on Hamilton and make sure we get the win and see what happens after that."

Skipper Scott Brown and defender Shane Duffy missed the visit of the Staggies through injury but Lennon is hopeful of their return for the trip to Lanarkshire.

The Northern Irishman said: "They should be okay. Browny had an abductor strain and Shane had a slight niggle in the hamstring.

Rice admits it is impossible for his side to cope with so many out but will not ask for games to be called off.

Rice said: "We had nine players missing before we start and, for a club like Hamilton, we can't cope with that with the size of our squad.

"That's not why we lost, Livingston were excellent and thoroughly deserved to win.

"The heart of my team was ripped out, the two boys who scored last Saturday, Scott Martin and Ross Callachan, are out of the team. It's soul destroying.

"We could field a team. Nobody is wanting games cancelled. For me to put out a strong team to compete I need some of those players on the pitch, (but) none of them will be back."

hamilton v celtic

New Douglas Park, Today, 3.00pm

Belfast Telegraph