Friday, October 20, 2017

Celtic hope to lift Scots gloom

SoccerNews in Scottish Premier League 11 Sep 2010

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Celtic manager Neil Lennon is delighted the transfer window is shut so he can concentrate on attempting to win the title and help lift the current gloom descending on Scottish football.

Lennon was a busy man while the window was open as he brought in 11 players and moved on 13 from his squad.

Striker Anthony Stokes was the last to arrive as he made a deadline day switch from Hibernian and he could be in line to make his debut on Saturday as Hearts visit Celtic Park.

Lennon, whose side are yet to concede a goal on league duty, is looking forward to working with a settled squad.

“I’m pleased it’s all over because we can settle things down and we know we’re working with a group of players that isn’t going to chop and change again until January,” Lennon said.

“It’s a young squad, it’s a hungry squad, and it’s all about managing that the right way.

“There have been quite a lot of changes but we just felt it needed doing and I’m pleased with the players who have come in. I think they will improve us.”

One of those players who arrived in the summer was Emilio Izaguirre. The Honduran international was brought in by Lennon to provide the answer to Celtic’s problems at left-back.

And after impressing in his debut against Motherwell the defender is desperate to face Hearts.

“I would love the chance to play in my first home game at Celtic Park against Hearts this weekend,” Izaguirre said.

“Everyone here is desperate to succeed and that is a nice feeling to have around the club. When I first arrived I knew I wanted to win some silverware this season and that is definitely my focus now I’m part of the group.”

The Scottish Premier League season resumes after the international break which saw the national team struggle to beat little Liechtenstein on Tuesday.

Hearts, who have had an unbeaten start to the season, will be without defender Lee Wallace who was injured on international duty.

Celtic could find themselves trailing Rangers by three points come kick-off as their Old Firm rivals travel to New Douglas Park to take on Hamilton.

Rangers face Manchester United at Old Trafford on Tuesday in their Champions League opener but midfielder Maurice Edu insists the players are not looking beyond the match against Hamilton.

The American said: “The game at Old Trafford is obviously going to be exciting and we’re all looking forward to that.

“But you’ve got to take care of business domestically first and we’re not looking past the match this weekend.

“That’s what we are focused on right now and it’s only after Hamilton that we’ll focus on taking on Manchester United.”

Loan signing from Aberdeen Ricky Foster may make his debut for Walter Smith’s side at right-back after injuries to Steven Whittaker and Kirk Broadfoot while Croatian striker Nikita Jelavic could make his first start.

Hamilton had a horror start to the season losing their first two games 4-0 to Aberdeen and Hearts.

However Billy Reid’s side bounced back to seal a narrow away win over Inverness before the international break.

Dundee United host Aberdeen still searching for their first win of the season.

The Scottish Cup holders sit second bottom of the table and will have their work cut out against a Dons side that occupy third spot.

Kilmarnock welcome St Mirren to Rugby Park with both clubs on a high after picking up wins in their previous matches.

Craig Brown’s Motherwell side travel to McDiarmid Park to take on bottom of the league St Johnstone.

Hibernian take on Inverness Caldedonian Thistle at Easter Road.

Fixtures (1400 GMT unless stated)

Saturday

Hamilton v Rangers (1100), Celtic v Hearts, Dundee United v Aberdeen, Hibernian v Inverness CT, Kilmarnock v St Mirren, St Johnstone v Motherwell

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