Neil Lennon praises ‘relentless’ Celtic ahead of Betfred Cup final against Rangers
Neil Lennon believes He’ll Direct a’Persistent’ Celtic side to the Betfred Cup final against Rangers at Hampden Park on Sunday.
The Hoops have won the previous nine decorations in Scotland and then go into the derby on the back of 11 consecutive victories in all competitions.
The latest victory was a stunning 2-1 home win over Hamilton on Wednesday night when skipper Scott Brown played with an injury-time winner, even on precisely the night that Rangers let a two-goal lead slip to draw at Pittodrie.
Lennon, in his second spell as Hoops supervisor, praised the side’s attitude ahead of the final, which could see striker Odsonne Edouard return to action after two weeks out.
“There’s a relentlessness about these,” said Lennon. “They refuse to shed, they don’t know when they are beaten so it’s going to take a big performance some day – ideally not Sunday – to end this streak of decorations.
“We’re motoring on. The core group which have been here for the last three or four years have won these nine decorations.
“There are a number of new men playing in their first final but the experienced boys will prepare for this, as will the coaching team.
“It would be a excellent fillip to acquire it. We’re on brilliant shape. It’s 11 wins in all contests.
“We’re looking forward to the game but we’re not taking anything for granted. We know Rangers are playing well at the moment.
“It has got all the ingredients of a breaking match ”
The Celtic captain did, however, acknowledge unpredictable cup pops derby games, could be.
“Every final differs,” he added. The situation going into the match is different. Our selection will be different from Wednesday night.
“It is quite difficult to predict the way the derby’s going to go since it’s all on the day.
“Benefits? We have had good experience of playing and winning here a lot so hopefully that’ll stand us in good stead.”
Lennon is confident that Edouard will be prepared to confront Rangers and in addition, he confirmed that Jonny Hayes (shoulder), Boli Bolingoli (hamstring) and Mohamed Elyounoussi (foot) are all healthy and available.
“They trained now. With Odsonne specifically it is a day-by-day thing so we’ll see how he reacted to the training tomorrow (Saturday),” he explained.
“Can I be prepared to take a gamble with Odsonne? No. No one is ever 100 percent but we’ll be guided by our health care staff.
“He educated, did the complete session now and seems like he has come through it no problem.
“I am always invited to find a player of that calibre on the training ground and there is no wonder we’re a better team when he’s fit and accessible.
“Obviously it is his call. That’s the same with every player coming back from injury and I think there.
“With the other guys we have more or less got a complete compliment.
“A number of them have been out somewhat longer than the others. The likes of Odsonne and Jonny have been outside for only about a couple of weeks, Mohamed and Boli have been a bit longer. But they are all in good shape.”