Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Lennon: Celtic Old Firm win would be ´hammer blow´ to Rangers

SoccerNews in Scottish Premier League 29 Mar 2019

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Neil Lennon says Celtic can deliver a “hammer blow” to Rangers’ Scottish Premiership title hopes by beating their Old Firm rivals on Sunday.

Celtic sit 10 points clear at the summit and would be practically assured of an eighth consecutive top-flight crown if they prevail at Celtic Park this weekend.

Steven Gerrard’s side were already playing catch-up in the league before recent back-to-back draws and Lennon senses an opportunity to put further daylight between the two clubs.

“It would be a hammer blow [to Rangers] but again, not insurmountable,” he said.

“Again we are talking hypothetically. The objective is to win the game whenever we play our nearest rivals so that is not going to change and the mindset will be, ‘We are at home and take the game to Rangers at every opportunity’.

“I am feeling quite calm at the minute. I am trying not to get too distracted by all the noise and the hype that goes around it so I have just been concentrating on what we are doing on a day-to-day basis and preparing for another big game.”

Lennon has won three of his four matches in interim charge since succeeding Brendan Rodgers, but Gerrard is eager to give his opposite number a taste of defeat, the ex-Liverpool midfielder having overseen a 1-0 victory against the Hoops at Ibrox in December. 

“The boys can’t wait to go there on Sunday, the result in December gave us massive confidence,” Gerrard said.

“Our aim is to go there and silence their fans. Our boys will all be so focused that the fans won’t be an issue – when you are out there the match is all that matters.

“To have any impact whatsoever in the league we need to have three points, you always want to beat your rivals.”

Gerrard confirmed assistant manager Gary McAllister would not be in the dugout after he was the victim of an alleged attack in Leeds last weekend.

“It’s a shame, he is not going to be with us at the weekend,” he said. “I took the decision out of Gary’s hands.

“It’s a shame what happened. He is recovering well, but I think it’s better that he rests and recovers and gets himself 100 per cent right, and we get Gary McAllister back when he can be the real Gary McAllister.”

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