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HOOPS AIM FOR PRE-CHRISTMAS TREAT

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NEIL LENNON and his Celtic players are planning pre-Christmas celebrations when they make phenomenal history against Hearts in the delayed Scottish Cup Final at Hampden on December 20.

The holders, who have won the last ELEVEN domestic honours as they have ruled Scottish football for four years, take on Aberdeen at the national stadium this afternoon in the last-four tie that has been held over since April due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Derek McInnes’ side stand between the Hoops and an unprecedented sequence of spectacular success when the teams lock horns for the second time in eight days.

At Pittodrie last week, the nine-in-a-row champions showed some gritty fighting spirit as they came back twice to lead 3-2 with goals from Callum McGregor, Leigh Griffiths and Ryan Christie (pen) before the home side nicked a point with a stoppage-time time spot-kick from Lewis Ferguson, his second of the afternoon.

Former Parkhead favourite Craig Gordon was in excellent form yesterday and made a handful of tremendous saves as the Tynecastle side overcame Hibs 2-1 in extra-time at a rain-lashed Hampden.

However, Celtic are out to take care of business against the Dons before setting their sights on Gordon and Co to continue their remarkable sweep through the domestic game.

Boss Lennon, speaking to the Sunday Mail, said: “We’re starting to find a bit of form again, starting to get players back and we look stronger now.

“The mentality and atmosphere around the team is good. They’ll be buoyed by Thursday night’s draw with Lille.

“We were disappointed not to win, but that speaks volumes for the players, against a team top of Ligue 1. We came away disappointed that we didn’t beat them.

“That will give the boys a lot of belief. Not that it had waned – but they proved against Lille they can still play at a really high level.

“On the counter-attack, we looked as if we could pick them off at any time. It was an excellent performance.”

A repeat of that performance against the joint-Ligue 1 leaders – with Mohamed Elyounoussi claiming two superb goals – against Aberdeen today could see the dream edge to within 90 minutes of glorious completion.

* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Celtic v Aberdeen this afternoon – only in your champion CQN.

 
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