NEIL LENNON has denied Celtic are freezing out Scott Sinclair – despite the winger only seeing SIXTY-SIX minutes of competitive action this season.

The Englishman, who netted 61 goals in the treble treble campaigns after joining the Hoops in a £4.5million switch from Aston Villa in August 2016, has made only four appearances from the substitutes’ bench.

And the 30-year-old attacker has NOT figured in Lennon’s 18-man squads for the last three games adding to the mystery of his no-shows.

Sinclair is in the last 12 months of his contract and Lennon acknowledged the player had every right to feel ignored, but backed his decision to leave him in the stand on matchdays.

The Parkhead gaffer insists he is being overlooked solely on the form and consistency of James Forrest, Mikey Johnston and Lewis Morgan. Even £2million Ukrainian Marian Shved has been snubbed.

HAMPDEN HAPPY DAZE…Scott Sinclair holds aloft the League Cup after last season’s triumph.

Lennon, speaking to the Sunday Mail, said: “We don’t want to treat him badly because he’s a senior pro. It’s just that he’s finding it difficult right now to get into the squad. I can’t pick six wingers.

“Our widemen have been playing so well and we’ve been scoring goals. We look a threat. We have good pace in the team, something which Mikey brings to us.”

Sinclair’s only start was against French Cup winners Rennes in the goalless friendly at Parkhead in July and even then he didn’t last the full game before he was replaced by Karamoko Dembele in the 77th minute.

Reports indicate the former Chelsea, Swansea and Manchester City flanker is not pleased at being cast as a bit-part player.

He was linked with Premier League new boys Sheffield United and Championship sides Derby County and Preston before their window closed earlier this month.

Now Sinclair has until the transfer deadline a week tomorrow to find a new club – or continue to fight for a place at the eight-in-a-row champions.

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

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