NEIL LENNON has been backed to overcome recent criticism – by the boss who is determined to pile on the misery.

Aberdeen gaffer Derek McInnes is planning a Scottish Cup semi-final setback for the Hoops chief when the teams lock horns at Hampden on Sunday.

Scotland’s title kings go into the delayed last-four meeting – postponed from last season during the lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic – in the realisation a victory will put them within 90 minutes of an unprecedented quadruple treble.

Celtic have already claimed the previous ELEVEN trophies up for grabs during their four-year domination of the domestic scene.

The Scottish Cup was annexed in 2017 when Tom Rogic netted his memorable last-gasp winner in the 2-1 triumph over the Dons, a year later goals from Callum McGregor and Olivier Ntcham downed Motherwell 2-0 in the silverware shoot-out and two second-half strikes from Odsonne Edouard saw off Hearts 2-1 in May last year.

NUMBER ONE…Callum McGregor after hitting the first equaliser against the Dons.

NUMBER TWO…Leigh Griffiths is good to go again after the second leveller.

NUMBER THREE…Ryan Christie turns away after slotting in the penalty-kick to give the Hoops a 3-2 advantage.

Now the north east outfit stand between the Parkhead men and a place against either Hibs or Hearts, who play 24 hours earlier, in the Cup Final on December 20.

Lennon and his players have copped some flak in recent weeks and dropped two points in the 3-3 draw at Pittodrie last Sunday which drew more stinging rebukes.

However, the Irishman has found support from an unlikely source with McInnes insisting his dug-out rival has the experience to handle the pressure.

The Aberdeen manager, speaking to Sky Sports News, said: “Neil has been over the course to deal with this.

“He’s proved himself a good manager and will continue to prove that.

“I haven’t seen a lot of the criticism and what Neil has responded to, but I heard the gist of it. But that’s Celtic and Neil’s business.”

Meanwhile, former Hoops prospect Dylan McGeouch will miss the Hampden showdown after being ruled out for up to eight weeks with a torn groin.

The midfielder suffered the injury during the first-half of Sunday’s stalemate and a scan has confirmed he will be on the sidelines.


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