Celtic vs Rangers: Neil Lennon hopes derby win can bolster title chances

 skysports.com  03/29/2019 17:41:55 

Celtic interim boss Neil Lennon admits victory over Steven Gerrard's side would go a long way to making it eight title wins in a row.

Celtic are currently 10 points clear of Rangers at the top of the Scottish Premiership table and Lennon believes a home win against their fierce rivals could prove pivotal in their hunt for the title.

March 31, 2019, 11:00am

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He said: "It would be hammer blow [to Rangers] but again, not insurmountable.

"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."

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Neil Lennon wants Rangers to 'feel the power' and has urged Celtic fans to create a good atmosphere when the two sides meet on Sunday
Neil Lennon wants Rangers to 'feel the power' and has urged Celtic fans to create a good atmosphere when the two sides meet on Sunday

Lennon confirmed Kieran Tierney, who missed Scotland's Euro 2020 qualifying double-header against Kazakhstan and San Marino with a calf injury, will be assessed.

He said: "Kieran has had a bit of a reaction [at training] today and may be a doubt. We will have to assess him on Saturday.

"It is the same issue and we will leave it maybe as late as possible to see how it is. He looked uncomfortable, we will give it 24 hours to see how it goes.

"Olivier Ntcham and Tom Rogic have been training this week and both Dedryck Boyata and Mikael Lustig should be okay."

Celtic captain Scott Brown exchanges words with Rangers' Scott Arfield
Celtic captain Scott Brown exchanges words with Rangers' Scott Arfield

Rangers boss Gerrard was left with mixed emotions following the international break as he prepares for Celtic on Sunday.

Gerrard told RangersTV: "First and foremost they have obviously done well to be called up and it is great to see them getting international recognition.

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Rangers manager Steven Gerrard says he wants his team to inflict the first home league defeat on Celtic on Sunday
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard says he wants his team to inflict the first home league defeat on Celtic on Sunday

"But from my point of view, I was just sitting at home hoping they all come back fit and available.

"Obviously we have had a bit of a setback with Borna (Barisic), who has a bit of a hamstring problem which makes him a huge doubt for the weekend.

"So that is disappointing, but the rest, so far, seem to be OK. My main concern is they come back healthy and ready to go at the weekend."

Team news

Kieran Tierney has a calf problem
Kieran Tierney has a calf problem

Tierney is a doubt with a calf injury ahead of the Old Firm.

Midfielders Tom Rogic and Olivier Ntcham are back in training after knee injuries and defenders Dedryck Boyata and Mikael Lustig are fit while midfielder Ryan Christie (hamstring) and goalkeeper Craig Gordon (knee) remain on the sidelines, with Eboue Kouassi, Daniel Arzani and Leigh Griffiths all still out for various reasons.

Borna Barisic is an injury doubt
Borna Barisic is an injury doubt

Rangers' Barisic is out of the game after suffering a hamstring injury while playing for Croatia.

But Gerrard is optimistic Ryan Jack and Scott Arfield will both be back after returning to training following calf problems while Gareth McAuley is available after a hamstring issue.

Long-term absentees Jamie Murphy and Graham Dorrans (both knee) are continuing their rehabilitation work.

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