Lennon sees a bigger picture

Neil Lennon has told Celtic to ignore the prospect of Champions League glory for now to concentrate on domestic duties.

Last Updated: 25/11/12 at 13:47 Post Comment

Lennon: Watched his side lose to Inverness

Lennon: Watched his side lose to Inverness

Neil Lennon warned his Celtic players to ignore the prospect of Champions League glory for now to concentrate on domestic duties.

A 1-0 home defeat by Inverness on Saturday meant the Hoops have dropped 17 points from 14 Clydesdale Bank Premier League games, only four less than they did in the whole of last season.

One theory for their lacklustre display is that the Parkhead players are thinking too much about the Champions League Group G decider with Spartak Moscow on December 5.

However, boss Lennon, who threatened to quit following an altercation with angry fans during the game in which Billy McKay grabbed a second-half winner for the visitors, said: "Well, if it is then they'll not play.

"I'm fed up talking about Champions League games when we are playing domestic games.

"I know it's all new to them, and I know there is a big game looming on the horizon.

"But I can't accept players thinking that way, because they won't play.

"They can't waste games, they can't think of other games when they're playing against decent SPL teams, which Inverness are."

To somewhat contradict his manager's desire to get his players focusing on the home front, skipper Scott Brown revealed he will delay surgery on an ongoing hip problem in order to play against Spartak in a game which promises a place in the last-16 of the competition for Celtic if they get a better result than Benfica manage in Barcelona.

The Scotland midfielder, 27, who came on as a second-half substitute against Caley, said: "I feel not too bad just now and hopefully that continues.

"The aim just now is to play against Spartak and we will see how it goes.

"I will just need to calm down on the training pitch and hopefully play as much as I can in the games without any pain.

"After I get the operation I should be fine.

"However long I play and whatever operation I get I will still be out for the same time.

"If I can prolong playing until we see what happens in the Champions League, hopefully it will help me and help the club as well. But the decision was fully mine.

"The gaffer asked if I wanted to go for the surgery but I said I would rather prolong it and try to play in the Spartak game. He was delighted about that."

Terry Butcher was delighted to win at Celtic Park for the first time as a manager on the day Caley recorded their first league win in the east end of Glasgow to move fifth place in the table.

The former Rangers defender, however, insists the Hoops, who lead Aberdeen by one point albeit with a game in hand, will retain their title.

He said: "For me they are going to win the league, there is no doubt about that because they have the resources.

"They have one eye on the Champions League which is understandable, but I don't see them letting the title slip at all, I think they will kick into gear just after Christmas and New Year."

While the debate surrounding the reconstruction of Scottish football continues, with the SPL and Scottish Football League both formulating proposals, Butcher declared himself happy with the status quo

"I think it is a great league," he said. "We are talking about reconstruction but it is one of the best competitions for a long, long time.

"I can't remember enjoying it as much. I know we are doing pretty well but the standard of football, the passing; I think it is a great environment for young players to blossom in.

"They are going to change it, they are going to do this and that and I am not happy with that.

"My chairman won't be happy with me saying that but we are giving youngsters a real chance to grow on the SPL stage and enjoy it."


Click here for completely free £10 bet with Sky Bet & £5 free every week


Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

think Finnegans Wake would have been a better reference point than Ulysses. Far more rambling and incomprehensible.

debra2927
Football People On TV: Garth Crooks

I

f I recall correctly, Degsy predicted a 100/1 shot correctly the week after his 150/1 Blackpool 4 - 3 Bolton call. I stuck a fiver on it as an idle bet. Paid for a stag do in Munich. Heady days...

baldini
Backing Hull To Beat United 2-1...

R

odgers prefers Joe Allen to Lucas? If this is true then I'm setting aside a fortnight to finally learn the rules of American Football and I'll give up on real football.

godzilla
The Jammy Gossip

Footer 365

Tim Sherwood expects Christian Benteke to remain Aston Villa player

Tim Sherwood is convinced Christian Benteke wants to stay at Aston Villa, although he has not broached the subject with him.

Steve Bruce at a loss to explain Hull City's dreadful season

Hull City boss Steve Bruce had no idea his side would be in a relegation fight after building what he saw as a strong squad last summer.

Liverpool boss says Raheem Sterling is being led by his agent in seeking a move

Brendan Rodgers says Raheem Sterling "is being led by his representative" and deserves the support of the Liverpool fans at Stoke on Sunday.

Mail Box

Only One Real Manager Of The Year

Winning the Premier League with the best squad in the Premier League is only par; Ronald Koeman did a whole lot better. Plus, the last word on Raheem and...

Don't Slate Sterling For Ambition...

Raheem Sterling deserves credit for his desire to quit Liverpool, according to one mailboxer. Also: why football should not be compared to business and Degsy's latest spot of bother...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company