Neil Lennon: Celtic want to play remaining games

Neil Lennon says everyone at Celtic wants to play the remaining games.Neil Lennon says everyone at Celtic wants to play the remaining games.
Neil Lennon says everyone at Celtic wants to play the remaining games.
But manager concedes it may not be possible

Neil Lennon insists everyone at Celtic wants the season to be played to a conclusion but concedes it may not be possible in the current climate.

The future of the 2019-20 Scottish Premiership campaign is expected to become clearer after Thursday’s Uefa executive committee meeting.

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Celtic are currently 13 points clear of Rangers at the top of the table with eight rounds of fixtures remaining. The Ibrox side have a game in hand and are still due to play Celtic twice.

Uefa said on Tuesday that domestic league and cup competitions could be cancelled "in special cases" due to the coronavirus pandemic.

European football's governing body had previously warned that domestic leagues ending their seasons prematurely risked their clubs being excluded from its competitions in the future, but may now consider allowing curtailment of campaigns.

The Scottish Professional Football League board has the right to make a decision on bringing the Premiership season to an end and is expected to act after Thursday’s Uefa meeting.

Celtic are chasing a ninth consecutive league title and a fourth successive domestic treble, and Lennon’s preference would be to be play the remaining matches.

“Everyone at the club – the players, myself, my backroom staff, the fans – want to play the games,” he told Celtic TV. “Whether that can be achieved or not, that’s another thing.

“It feels like an age away since we played our last game against St Mirren at home, so in terms of keeping the players motivated, keeping them occupied, their own self-motivation is still very, very strong.

“The only thing they’re asking me is when can they get back to training as a group and when can we all start back again, but, obviously, no-one has an answer to that at the minute.

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“I thought the first half of the season was superb, but the second half was just as good, particularly domestically. We’d only dropped two points in so many league games and we were making a brilliant challenge again for the Scottish Cup, and we’re in the semi-final [where they are due to face Aberdeen].

“But the form that we've been in since the turn of the year was blistering. Even in our last game, we scored five against St Mirren at home, and that was a fine example of the form that we’d had. It’s a difficult thing to do at that stage of the season as well, but mentally and physically, they were in a fantastic place.

“I was delighted with individual performances but also the team as a collective was outstanding.

“Defensively, as a unit, we’ve been functioning great. We even changed the formation and they were very flexible with that as well and adapted to that brilliantly. The football we were playing was fast, free-flowing and we were scoring a lot of goals.

“I was so pleased with players coming back from injury as well. We actually only had one injury at that stage, which was to Michael (Johnston) out of the whole group, so in terms of the fitness levels and their appetite for playing, at that stage they had the real bit between their teeth and we were just rampaging through the league at the time.”



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