Lennon wants perfect finish

  • Last Updated: February 26 2013, 18:08 GMT

Neil Lennon insists Celtic players have more than enough targets to ensure their Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League season does not run out of steam.

Neil Lennon: Wants to win all 10 remaining SPL games
Neil Lennon: Wants to win all 10 remaining SPL games

The Hoops have garnered 62 points after 28 games and, 21 clear of Inverness at the top of the table, are striding unchallenged towards retaining their title.

Ahead of the trip to Motherwell on Wednesday night, the Parkhead manager pointed to several reasons why his side should be motivated to carry on from their 5-0 drubbing of Dundee at the weekend.

"We want to win our remaining 10 games and finish the season strongly," said the former Celtic captain.

"I think the points total is important, we had 92 and 93 in the last two seasons so we would like to get up around 90 again and we still have a bit of work to do to make that target.

"I want these young players to keep progressing and try and adapt to any environment or challenge that is put in front of them.

"We have scored 100 goals already this season so can we get close to 100 league goals? Can we get 90-plus points, can Gary Hooper get 30-plus goals, can Fraser Forster keep clean sheets, can the midfield pitch in with more goals? There is so much still to play for.

"It's a great time to be involved with Celtic.

"I look at my time and I look at these players now. They are playing in the last 16 of the Champions League and they are going for their second title.

"There may be players who won't be here next year for one reason or another so they should enjoy this time."

Lennon insists the next week will define the club's season.

The champions face St Mirren in the quarter-finals of the William Hill Scottish Cup on Saturday looking to avenge the Scottish Communities League Cup semi-final defeat to the Buddies.

After that Celtic travel to Turin for the second leg of their Champions League last-16 clash with Juventus on Wednesday night, hoping against hope to recover a 3-0 deficit from the first game at Parkhead.

"Obviously we have places up for grabs for the Scottish Cup and Champions League so there has been no sign of anyone taking their foot off the pedal," Lennon said.

"The squad is vibrant and healthy and I will use it but obviously I am mindful of the fact that Motherwell is a big game, St Mirren is a huge game for us and obviously Juventus as well.

"These are three games that will shape the season one way or the other and I will go strong in all of them."

Lennon will disregard the interest surrounding James McFadden, who rejoined Motherwell last week - although the Fir Park side have lost both games in which he came on as substitute, at home to Dundee United and away to Ross County.

The Northern Irishman, who had talks with the former Everton and Birmingham forward in October 2011 before a potential move fell through, said: "I am aware that James has gone back there and I know he hasn't played a lot of football so I don't know how far down the road he is with his conditioning.

"But I assume that he will feature at some part, if not start the game.

"We did have talks with himself and representatives but he chose to go elsewhere.

"The only problem James has had is with injuries, stopping him from being the talent that we all thought he was going to be.

"Hopefully he can get an injury-free run and get back to the form he showed four or five years ago.

"I am not sure he has much to do with (Motherwell's two defeats), I think he has played only in fits and starts after being out of the game so long, which you would expect.

"It is a bit like Kris Boyd (signing for Kilmarnock), it is a signing that has captured people's imagination.

"But it is no distraction for us, we have our own priorities and we want to win the game and keep momentum going."


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