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Lennon wants improvement from Celtic for Rangers clash

Neil Lennon admits Celtic will have to find another gear if they are to win the Old Firm derby against Rangers at Parkhead tomorrow night.

The Hoops have bounced back from their shock Active Nation Scottish Cup semi-final defeat to Irn-Bru First Division side Ross County, and Saturday's 4-0 home win over Motherwell extended their winning run in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League to six games.

After a mediocre first half and an interval pep talk from interim boss Lennon, Celtic upped the tempo and goals from Aiden McGeady, Darren O'Dea (right), debutant James Forrest and Robbie Keane secured the points.

However, the Northern Irishman believes more will be needed against the champions.

“They will need to step up again,” Lennon said. “There were times when they were sloppy.

“They gave the ball away in bad areas, were a bit ill-disciplined defensively and if you play like that against a team of the quality of Rangers, they will punish you.

“But it was another step in the right direction and it's good to go in on a run of six winning games.

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“We are playing the champions on Tuesday night but I think we have enough quality to give Rangers a hard night.”

Lennon does not want his future to rest on the Old Firm game alone but O'Dea believes victory over Rangers should be enough to clinch the former Leicester City man the manager's job on a full-time basis.

“I think so,” the Irishman said. “He has been great since he came in. All the players are right behind him and have responded well to him so I don't see why not.”

With Glenn Loovens and Thomas Rogne injured, O'Dea will team up again with Josh Thompson tomorrow night.

The former Celtic youth player has been a regular in recent months and he insists that is improving him as a player.

“It's the first time in my career I have played a run of 10, 12 games and I feel I can only get better as a player,” he said.

“I'm still learning the game and the more I play the better I feel and the stronger I feel. Every game is a case of trying to prove yourself to Lenny and the fans and I'm just hoping to keep hold of the jersey.”

Motherwell stay in fourth place and can clinch a Europa League spot with victory over Hibernian on Wednesday.


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