Lennon wants Celtic cup flops to prove him wrong

NEIL LENNON has urged Celtic's players to prove him wrong after telling the club's board which of them he wants out this summer.

Caretaker manager Lennon confirmed he had already handed major shareholder Dermot Desmond and chief executive Peter Lawwell the names of those he believes should be sold at the end of the season.

If the former Parkhead captain's behaviour during Saturday's shock Active Nation Scottish Cup semi-final defeat is anything to go by, Landry N'Guemo, Marc-Antoine Fortune and Georgios Samaras may well feature on that blacklist. N'Guemo was hauled off before half-time at Hampden, while Lennon singled out forwards Fortune and Samaras for criticism in what was a scathing post-match press conference. Whether that trio enjoy a stay of execution in tonight's SPL game against Motherwell remains to be seen. But those who do feature at Parkhead will be left in no doubt what Lennon expects from now until the summer.

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"Ultimately, we have to qualify for the Champions League," said Lennon, who questioned whether his under-fire squad has what it takes to hold on to second place in the table with Dundee United just five points behind.

"I said what I felt on Saturday; now I want them to prove me wrong. They're playing for their futures here. Do they want to stay at this club? Well, they've got six games to prove it."

Lennon hopes "pride" will be the minimum his players show tonight. "We're probably stripped down to the bare bones in terms of that," he said. "It's a powerful thing though, professional pride, pride in yourself as a man and pride in your performance."

Motherwell, meanwhile, are considering "all avenues of protest" over their final SPL fixtures after being handed an extra away game against Celtic.

The Lanarkshire club will have played 20 away fixtures and 18 home games over the course of the season after they defied the SPL's expectations and qualified for the top six.

Motherwell have been given a third away clash against Celtic on 1 May, meaning they lose the financial advantage of a home game against the Old Firm in the final five matches.

After an emergency board meetingMotherwell chief executive Leeann Dempster said: "The board are deeply concerned about the outcome of the post-split fixtures and its implication for the sporting and financial position of the club.

"We understand that the SPL cannot please everyone with every fixture, but the decision-making process has resulted in a deeply unfair outcome.

All avenues of protest will be considered."