Celtic boss Lennon targeting Pittodrie win even though draw would secure title

Celitc interim boss Neil Lennon insists his side will be going all out for victory against Aberdeen even though a draw will be enough to clinch the Ladbrokes Premiership title.

With three fixtures remaining, the Hoops only need to avoid defeat against Derek McInnes’ men at Pittodrie to make it eight titles in a row – with the unprecedented domestic triple treble still a possibility – but Lennon will not send his players out on a cautionary note.

The 1-0 win over Kilmarnock last week means Celtic remain unbeaten in Scotland in 2019 and yet to taste defeat in Lennon’s 10 games in charge, the former Hoops boss having returned to Parkhead in February on a deal until the end of the season after Brendan Rodgers suddenly left for Leicester.

Lennon, who will have left-back Kieran Tierney available although he is set to have an operation on a double hernia at the end of the domestic season, said: “Pittodrie is always a difficult place to go and they are going for third place.

“I make no secret of my admiration of Derek McInnes and I’m expecting a very tough game.

“They’ve given us plenty of problems over the last couple of seasons.

“We know what’s required, we just need a point. We’re not going up to hold off for a draw. We’re not programmed that way. We are going to try to win the game.

“You don’t want players to lose their focus. This is just like any other game really.

“It’s the most important one because it’s the next one.

“It was a great win last week against a very good side (Kilmarnock). We expect the game to be just as difficult.”

Lennon is pleased that Celtic will travel to Pittodrie with two PFA Scotland Premiership Player of the Year nominees in their ranks – attacker James Forrest and midfielder Callum McGregor.

The Celtic duo are up against Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos and winger Ryan Kent, who is on loan from Liverpool, for the award with the winner being announced at the awards dinner in Glasgow on Sunday.

Lennon insists that having come through the ranks at the Parkhead club, Scotland internationals McGregor and Forrest are an inspiration to those currently at Celtic’s academy.

He said: “Both Callum and James have had outstanding seasons again.

“It has come as no surprise to me that those two guys are in the running.

“Callum got the club awards at the weekend (named Player of the Year by both players and fans), he has had a brilliant season and is now captain of his country and James is an outstanding talent and has been for such a long time.

“They both came through the ranks and I am very proud of them and what they have done and the players that they have become, and they are a real standard bearer for all the young players coming through at Celtic, and Kieran Tierney can be added to that as well.

“We are delighted, not only with them coming through but the huge contribution they have made to the club in their time here.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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