CELTIC manager Neil Lennon will use the final SPL match of the season at Tannadice tomorrow to assess his Scottish Cup final midfield options.
Victor Wanyama and Beram Kayal will both miss the Hampden showdown against Hibernian next Sunday through suspension, so Lennon has decided neither player will be involved against Dundee United this weekend. Defenders Charlie Mulgrew and Adam Matthews will also be absent tomorrow because of knee injuries which Lennon is hopeful will not threaten their participation in the cup final. Otherwise, he intends to field as strong a line-up as possible against United in a bid to maintain positive momentum following last Saturday’s 4-0 home win over St Johnstone.
“We will go full throttle,” said Lennon. “The players have all been rested at different stages since we clinched the title and I got a good response last week when they all came back. I’m looking for a replication of that performance on Sunday.
“Wanyama and Kayal are having their break now, because they won’t be able to play at Hampden anyway. But we have Scott Brown back, Joe Ledley is playing well as are Kris Commons and James Forrest. So I still have an abundance of riches to pick from in midfield.”
Lennon has no intention of restricting Brown’s involvement at Tannadice, the club captain having returned to action last weekend following a three-month injury lay-off. “There’s no reason why Scott can’t start the game,” added Lennon. “He played well last week and needs the football to get up to match speed for the cup final. I was delighted with his contribution against St Johnstone and there have been no ill effects from his exertions.
“Tannadice is a good game for us before the cup final. We enjoy going there. Jackie McNamara is trying to stamp his own ideas on the club and has done well, although I think losing the cup semi-final to us took a bit out of them psychologically because they’ve not had the results they would have wanted since then.”
United manager McNamara has challenged his players to finish the season on a high by picking up the three points in their final-day clash.
He said: “We’re at home and we’ll give it everything to try and get the victory we want to round off the season. I’ve told the players to go and enjoy it as it’s the last game of the season and there’s no real pressure. We’ve got a lot of players still missing especially in defence which will make it tough. But we want to go for it all the same and have nothing to lose.”