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Lennon: Celtic will make Rangers sweat

By Ronnie Esplin

Neil Lennon wants Celtic to heap the pressure on Rangers by going five points clear of their Old Firm rivals at the top of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League today.

Rangers were 15 points ahead of the Hoops on November 5 — albeit Celtic had two games in hand — but since then respective fortunes have changed.

The Hoops have won 11 SPL games in a row and can stretch their lead for a few hours at least with a lunchtime win against St Mirren in Paisley before the Light Blues take on Aberdeen at Ibrox.

The Celtic boss, who was in Glasgow to help publicise the launch of Sport Relief across the United Kingdom, has noted that his side have often played their fixtures before Rangers this season and is hoping to capitalise on the early start this weekend.

“For me, it will be an advantage to play first but we have to make the most of that advantage,” said the former Northern Ireland international. “If we win the game we will be five points clear before they start so that's a huge motivation for ourselves.

“I always believed in the players that they could turn it around, they have done that and then more. While it's great to be on this run, we are still wary that things can turn very quickly again.

“We are not getting too high because one result can pop the balloon as it were.

“But we are very pleased to be in this position at this stage of the season.”

St Mirren's last SPL win was at home against Rangers on Christmas Eve and Lennon knows Danny Lennon's men will be up for an Old Firm double.

The former Celtic skipper, who hopes to make keeper Fraser Forster's loan deal from Newcastle permanent before the transfer window closes, said: “I would imagine it would be a huge incentive for them.

“To take our scalp would give them huge satisfaction I'm sure. I think St Mirren are a good team and under Danny they have made a gradual improvement.

“They play a good style of football and at home they can beat anyone as been proven by beating Rangers this season. It is a very dangerous game for us.”

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