Lennon hails well-disciplined team

CELTIC manager Neil Lennon understands why Rangers have appealed Lee McCulloch’s red card to have him available for tomorrow’s Old Firm derby, but is just glad he has not had to deal with any major disciplinary problems of his own this season.

McCulloch was sent off in the first half of the 2-1 defeat at St Mirren on Christmas Eve after being adjudged by the referee to have elbowed Graham Carey.

The midfielder was followed later by Dorin Goian after the defender picked up two yellow cards, but the Ibrox club’s appeal on behalf of McCulloch, taken on the basis of television evidence, looks a strategic move.

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Lennon, who revealed that winger James Forrest is a doubt with a hamstring complaint, said: “I can understand why - he will be available for the game tomorrow night.

“I am hoping my players don’t get themselves involved in those situations.

“I am delighted with them. They have been exemplary this year under difficult circumstances at times.

“We have had a couple of red cards but we have told the players that discipline is vital.

“It is always important to have 11 players on the pitch and that hammered into me by Martin O’Neill, Gordon Strachan and even Dario Gradi in my younger years, so discipline is very important.”

Celtic’s 2-1 win over St Johnstone at the weekend took the Hoops to within one point of Rangers at the top of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.

At one stage the gap between the two clubs was 15 points - albeit Celtic had two games in hand.

Lennon, though, played down his side’s status as favourites going into the game.

He said: “I don’t think there is much between the teams.

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“Our form has been slightly better than Rangers but they are the champions and they won the last Old Firm game so I don’t think there is much in it.”