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LEGEND HAILS LENNY

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CELTIC legend Davie Hay gives all the credit to boss Neil Lennon for the Hoops’ achievements this season with the team only six wins away from a record-equalling ninth successive title.

The Hoops play Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden on Sunday April 12 as they edge closer to a sensational quadruple treble.

The champions take on St Mirren, a former club of Hay, at Parkhead today where a win will push them SIXTEEN points clear at the Premiership pinnacle.

Lennon had to overhaul the first-team squad in the summer with the likes of Kieran Tierney, Dedryck Boyata, Mikael Lustig and Emilio Izaguirre all leaving to present him with a rebuild to keep the club on course.

The Irishman brought in replacements such as Christopher Jullien, Jeremie Frimpong, Greg Taylor, Boli Bolingoli and Hatem Abd Elhamed while arranging the return of fans’ favourite Fraser Forster on a season-long loan from Southampton.

Hay is full of admiration for the manager and, speaking in the Evening Times, said: “”It helps Neil Lennon, of course, that he has a core of players in his dressing room who have been over course and distance, but I think that the consistency shown by the players has emanated from the manager’s office.

KEEP CALM…Neil Lennon yells instructions to his players at Livingston in midweek.

“Unlike in his playing days and perhaps in his first spell at the club, he has refused to throw his players under a bus when they have had setbacks and he hasn’t been getting too carried away when they have been going well.

“The players know exactly what is expected of them and they are playing as though they don’t want to let their manager, their team-mates, the fans or the club down.”

Hay added: “Lennon will be guarding against complacency against St Mirren this afternoon.

“The last thing he will want to do is offer Rangers any encouragement whatsoever ahead of what a tricky-looking game for them tomorrow against Ross County in Dingwall. The very least he will want to go into that game against Rangers at Ibrox a week tomorrow is the maintenance of the 13-point gap they currently enjoy.

“I am sure that the manager, as he has done all season, will not be getting carried away by all the talk of the league being over already. None of that talk is coming from inside the club from either him nor the players and I think he is doing a very good job of maintaining their focus.

“That’s why I expect another three points to be won at Celtic Park today and then the manager and his players will have a week to prepare for a game in which they could very well bury the issue of the destination of the title once and for all.”

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

 
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