Neil Lennon reveals Celtic trio in fitness race for Betfred Cup final

Neil Lennon admits he cannot ask for more from his players as they continued to make up for the absent Odsonne Edouard by scoring four goals to overcome Ross County.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon applauds the Celtic fans after his side's 4-1 win at Ross County. Picture: Ian Rutherford/PA
Celtic manager Neil Lennon applauds the Celtic fans after his side's 4-1 win at Ross County. Picture: Ian Rutherford/PA

But the Celtic manager stressed he is still desperate to have Edouard involved for Sunday’s Betfred Cup final against Rangers.

The striker is nursing an injury that has led to him missing his side’s last two games. Lennon revealed he is still sweating on the fitness of three players, including Edouard.

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Mohamed Elyounoussi and Boli Bolingoli are also in a race to be fit for the Hampden clash, with the latter’s potential absence off set by Jonny Hayes’ likely availability at left-back. Greg Taylor, who played there yesterday as Celtic maintained their place at the top of the Premiership, is cup-tied.

Edouard is still trying to shake off what Lennon has described as “ a niggle” and was left behind to train on his own as his team-mates made the trip to Dingwall.

Ryan Christie ensured his absence had little bearing on the result by scoring twice to take his tally to 15 goals for the season and in doing so supplanted Edouard as top goalscorer.

Lennon is still hopeful the French striker will be available this weekend even if he misses Wednesday’s home league clash against Hamilton Accies.

“It’s just day by day,” said Lennon. “We’ll see how he is tomorrow. He’s been out running today and I think he’s come through that okay.

“Moy (Elyounoussi) should be training Wednesday or Thursday so he should have a good chance of making it. Boli we’re not sure on yet. He might be a doubt. Jonny Hayes should be fine. I’m hoping Odsonne will be okay as well.”

Lennon can only be heartened by Celtic’s continued threat in front of goal. After scoring three times against Rennes on Thursday, they overwhelmed Ross County 4-1 and could easily have won by a greater margin.

“We’re getting goals from everywhere really,” said Lennon. “With Odsonne being out other players are contributing massively towards the goal total and as a manager you can’t ask for more.”

Ross County co-manager Stuart Kettlewell, meanwhile, was disgusted by a late offside flag that denied his side a goal he claimed could be pivotal in their fight to avoid relegation.

Ross Stewart thought he had scored his second of the afternoon to make it 4-2 but was thwarted by referee Nick Walsh blowing his whistle for off-side before near-side assistant David McGeachie had raised his flag.

Walsh was reacting to Brian Graham straying into an offside position and impeding Christopher Jullien’s efforts to retrieve the situation as the ball came over. “It’s a farce,” said Kettlewell. “It is wrong. I have never seen an occasion where an offside is given without the linesman raising his flag.

“Ross put it in the net, the referee blows his whistle and then a few seconds later the linesman puts up his flag!

That’s the wrong way round. The point I make is that it might come down to goal difference and fine margins like that for ourselves, you just never know.”