Lennon wary of cup final upset

Neil Lennon was thrilled with Celtic's end to their Premier League campaign but is still wary ahead of the Scottish Cup final against Hibernian at Hampden Park.

Last Updated: 25/05/13 at 21:57 Post Comment

Pat Fenlon and Neil Lennon: Will battle it out for the Scottish Cup

Pat Fenlon and Neil Lennon: Will battle it out for the Scottish Cup

The SPL champions warmed up for the showpiece occasion with a 4-0 win over St Johnstone at Parkhead with a similar scoreline at Dundee United last week.

Unsurprisingly, the Hoops are heavy favourites to beat the Easter Road side and secure the double.

However, the Parkhead manager is aware of some ropey recent displays at the national stadium, most notably the shock 3-2 Scottish Communities League Cup semi-final defeat to St Mirren in January.

"In the last two games the team has looked powerful and in the mood," said Lennon.

"They have played with great intensity and quality and I hope they bring that on Sunday.

"We beat St Johnstone, who qualified for Europe, quite comprehensively and then went to Dundee United last week, where people thought we would take our foot off the pedal, and we won that one 4-0 as well.

"But you can never tell. I don't want to tempt fate and I don't want to have anyone pointing the finger at me.

"We were playing exactly the same way going into the semi-final against St Mirren and looking really hungry, and we didn't play as well as we could on that particular day. So there are always warning signs there.

"Therefore, it is important that me and my backroom staff get all the bases covered.

"We have prepared them as well as we possibly can for this game and they will be ready for tomorrow."

The former Parkhead skipper will not read anything into Hibs' crushing 5-1 defeat by Edinburgh neighbours Hearts in last season's final.

"We respect Hibs," he said. "Pat Fenlon has done a very good job there and has got them back in the cup final for the second time in a row so he has proved it is no fluke.

"They will have their own incentives off the back of last season. I am sure they have learned a lot from that experience so you will have two highly-motivated teams going into the game."

The Northern Irishman does not believe defeat would be an anti-climax to a season in which his side also reached the last 16 of the Champions League.

"No," Lennon said. "We have won the league, we have progressed fantastically well in Europe and this game is a nice bonus for us to end the season."

Most people believe 28-goal Leigh Griffiths is the key to the Leith club's chances of winning the trophy for the first time since 1902.

However, Lennon was reluctant to focus too much on the striker, who is set to return to Wolves after his second loan spell at his boyhood heroes.

"He has been really impressive," he said. "He is a hungry boy who always wants to get into goalscoring positions.

"He plays on the shoulder of people so you can't give him half a yard because he is a bit like Kris Commons, he has power in both feet and at set-pieces he is a real specialist as he has proved this season.

"Missing chances doesn't faze him either, he keeps going. He is a real threat.

"But I don't want to just talk about one player. Hibs have a few attacking options.

"The young lad Alex Harris has come in and done particularly well as has young Ross Caldwell, so we will have our work cut out."

Right-back Adam Matthews has been ruled out after failing to shrug off a hamstring complaint which has kept him out since March.

Midfielders Victor Wanyama and Beram Kayal are suspended while defender Charlie Mulgrew (knee) and winger James Forrest (hamstring) will be assessed today.

TEAMtalk Facebook Fan Page

The TEAMtalk fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

E

ven if United were to sign CR7 & Messi to play upfront, the fact remains Fletcher and Cleverly are playing in midfield. That's where the problem is. Fletcher is too slow with an awful pass, while Cleverly is simply rubbish

mrunited4life
Di Maria - A Signing of Necessity, or Opportunity?

T

hese days, these days, you can't say something racist without somebody saying that you're a racist.

tk421
'Wrong' Views Not Silenced By Shouting...

D

rop Rooney (he's so disappointing, overrated and overpaid), and play Di Maria and RVP upfront, much like the set up at the Netherlands team with Roben and RVP...

eric bush3
Di Maria - A Signing of Necessity, or Opportunity?

Footer 365

Angel di Maria no 'miracle' for Manchester United, warns Louis van Gaal

Angel di Maria is not Manchester United's miracle, Louis van Gaal warned at the winger's official unveiling.

Transfer news: Alex Song and Danny Welbeck linked with Tottenham

Tottenham are discussing the potential signings of Alex Song and Danny Welbeck on loan, according to Sky sources.

Premier League: Neil Warnock feels he owes Crystal Palace fans

New Crystal Palace boss Neil Warnock feels he owes the club after the way his first spell in charge ended.

Mail Box

Don't Forget Chelsea Also Need A Striker

With Diego Costa struggling for fitness, one Chelsea fan pipes up in the mailbox to remind us that the Blues also need a striker. Plus, thoughts on Rooney as captain...

A United Fan Happy To See Welbeck Go

One United fan doesn't understand all the fuss over Danny Welbeck, while we also have mails on Arsenal being Arsenal, curious transfers and how to pronounce 'Gaal'...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property