Lennon plans January clearout for 'milky' Celts

Neil Lennon admits he has already earmarked the Celtic players he wants to offload in January. Next month's transfer window could mean curtains for several already faltering Celtic careers, with Lennon also claiming to have identified who he wants to replace them with.

"We're too milky," he says, simply. By that the Celtic manager means nave and to remedy the problem he wants to sign players with bottle; experienced types who have been over the course. At this juncture in the Scottish Premier League title race, it is time to ditch the non-runners.

"We'll be looking at trying to bring in a couple of players to bring a bit more experience into the squad," says Lennon. "I think that's the only thing that's really lacking. We've got the talent, but we've been a wee bit milky in recent games. An old head, an organiser as such, would benefit the team.

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"Centre-half is an area we want to improve on, there could be a midfielder as well, just someone with a bit more nous to them. If we can get the targets we want, we'll be very pleased. People don't have to go before we can buy, but, without naming names, we will be looking for offers for certain players and you can read into that what you like."

Among those who could be surplus to requirements may include Georgios Samaras, right, Jos Hooiveld, Marc Crosas, Morten Rasmussen and Glenn Loovens. A potential move away for the latter, however, could be complicated by the centre-half collecting medial ligament damage in a training ground knock during midweek which could see him absent for a month. Andreas Hinkel is another whose probable departure is being delayed by a more serious knee ligament injury.

Lennon was understandably unhappy with the recent home meeting with Inverness when a two-goal lead somehow became a scrambled 2-2 draw. "The manner of the goals we conceded against Inverness didn't inspire confidence throughout the rest of the team, put it that way," he says. "We probably haven't played well at home since the 9-0 victory over Aberdeen."

Kilmarnock on Tuesday is the first of three consecutive home fixtures to put things right before the 2 January visit to Ibrox to face Rangers. Where they won't need to spend until the summer, though, is in goal with Newcastle having confirmed Fraser Forster can remain on loan at Parkhead until the end of the season. There were concerns Newcastle might opt to recall Forster in January, but Celtic's first choice goalkeeper can stay. Lennon's selection options for Tuesday are boosted by the return to fitness of Scott Brown (foot), Beram Kayal (hernia) and James Forrest (ankle) to compensate the long-term loss of Shaun Maloney who underwent ankle surgery last Monday. Celtic continue to pressure Rangers, but the recent form of Hearts in third has not gone unnoticed and Lennon tips them to maintain their challenge to the Old Firm.

"At this stage of the season you have to view Hearts as realistic contenders. It would be foolish to dismiss them as not being title contenders because they're playing with a lot of confidences. They've put a good run together and won a lot of games."