LENNON WANTS CELTIC TO REMEMBER

Neil Lennon wants Celtic to remember the pain of last year's League Cup final defeat to Rangers.

Last Updated: 17/03/12 at 13:47 Post Comment   

Neil Lennon: Prepares for League Cup final

Neil Lennon: Prepares for League Cup final

Neil Lennon wants his players to remember the pain of last year's League Cup final defeat to Rangers as they prepare to take on Kilmarnock in this season's final at Hampden on Sunday.

The Hoops went down 2-1 to their Old Firm rivals in extra-time at the national stadium which prevented them ultimately winning a cup double.

Celtic are strong favourites against Killie to take the first trophy of a possible treble and the Parkhead boss wants his players to use last season's final disappointment as motivation.

"I can use a lot of games to motivate the players, none more so than the cup final this time last year," he said.

"I think that will be a motivation itself.

"But we have our own reasons for winning the cup and hopefully the players will concentrate on that.

"Kilmarnock are a good team and Kenny (Shiels) has done remarkably well given some of the players they lost from last season.

"I thought he might struggle with (former manager) Mixu Paatelainen leaving and the way they finished the season but they haven't at all, they have actually improved.

"They are in a decent position in the league and they are in a cup final so a lot of credit must go to Kenny and (assistant) Jimmy Nicholl for that."

Lennon is ready for one of the hardest tasks of any football manager; picking a cup final team.

The former Celtic captain was keeping his line-up close to his chest but he knows that with only five substitutes allowed even more players than usual are going to be left disappointed.

"Unlike the SPL games, we only have five substitutes instead of seven so there will be two berths that won't be there," he said.

"The majority of the team picks itself and the rest will probably be a little bit of a tactical selection more than anything else.

"There will be players disappointed that they won't be starting the game but the team that starts won't necessarily be the team that ends the game."

Lennon has left nothing to chance, revealing that his players have been practising penalties in case the match goes all the way.

"They were practising on Friday but we are hoping it doesn't go to that," he said.

"If it does the players will be well prepared for it but it's all on that moment and how they are feeling themselves - I'm glad I won't be in that position myself."

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