PFA snub can motivate Bhoys: Lennon
Neil Lennon is hoping his players respond positively to being snubbed by their fellow professionals when they take on Rangers in the final Old Firm derby of the season at Parkhead.
The Hoops have finished second to the Ibrox champions in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League title race but not one Celtic player made the PFA Scotland team of the year which was announced at the awards dinner in Glasgow on Sunday night.
The team — voted for by PFA Scotland members — included eight Ibrox players and Andy Webster, on loan to Dundee United from Rangers.
In addition, Light Blues midfielder Steve Davis was voted player of the year, while the young player of the year was his Ibrox team-mate Danny Wilson.
Asked if his players could feel aggrieved by their omission, Celtic's interim boss said: “I hope so.
“We had a full table there last night, we were well represented by the players and I give them credit for that.
“I was surprised that there wasn't at least one of our players in the team of year.
“I was very surprised by that.
“So hopefully that will be an extra motivation if they need that tomorrow. I don't think there is much difference in quality between the two squads.
“It's hard to put my finger on why the gap is so big this season but I do think we have quality in the squad and some real top-class players.”
Scott Brown agreed with Lennon's assessment and put forward the name of midfielder Aiden McGeady as one who deserved to be included in the team of the year.
“Aiden has done quite well this season,” the Celtic skipper said.
“He has torn up some defenders and scored some great goals and been a good team player as well.”
Being snubbed by their peers is just one gripe the Celtic camp has ahead of a game which is shaping up to be even meatier than usual.
Ibrox striker Nacho Novo started the ball rolling last week by blasting the Parkhead side and former manager Tony Mowbray for criticising Rangers boss Walter Smith. Hoops midfielder Diomansy Kamara hit back at the little Spaniard saying he hopes he gets silenced at Celtic Park while Andreas Hinkel upped the ante again yesterday by claiming Celtic were a better team than Rangers.
Lennon refused to believe the German defender's claims would gee up the Ibrox men saying it was “just as motivational as Nacho Novo taunting our players”, while claiming Celtic are due some luck this season against Rangers.
The Parkhead side are looking for their first Old Firm win this season with controversy surrounding the last three encounters.
“I think we are due a bit of luck,” Lennon said.
“I don't think Tony (Mowbray) had any luck at all throughout the course of the season.
“And we want the referee to call the right decisions, to make sure he gets them right.”