Lennon backs his Bhoys
Celtic boss Neil Lennon believes his players will be sharper going into their second Scottish Premier League game of the season thanks to a recent spate of friendly matches.
Celtic dispatched Hibernian 2-0 on the opening day of the campaign two weeks ago before being allowed to take the following weekend off to compete in a friendly tournament in Dublin. Lennon's team triumphed against an Airtricity XI but lost out to Wolverhampton Wanderers, Inter Milan and Swansea as they packed four games into 11 days.
However despite the disappointing results the Celtic boss believes his squad will have benefited from a punishing run of matches as they prepare for the trip to Aberdeen on Sunday. "In terms of game time, we didn't have enough going into the first match with Hibs so it was pleasing we negotiated that okay," Lennon said.
"The four games we have had since then have been very worthwhile. Everyone in the squad has had good game time, so anyone I call on this Sunday should be up to speed.
"I am thankful for the games because we had a very short close season. We had a couple of games in Australia where I used the whole squad. But most went into the opening game of the season with a game and half, two games under their belt. Sometimes that's not enough. So these four games will have done the players a world of good."
Celtic's preparations for the match at Pittodrie have been dealt a blow after it was revealed the hamstring injury suffered by Glenn Loovens in training this week will rule him out for six weeks. However Lennon has plenty cover for centre of defence with Kenyan midfielder Victor Wanyama the latest to be tried out in the position in the match against Swansea. Lukasz Zaluska will remain between the sticks for Celtic this weekend but Lennon admits the search for a new keeper continues.
Aberdeen's disappointing start to the season continued last weekend with a defeat away to St Mirren and boss Craig Brown has demanded a reaction from his players in the match against Celtic.
Also on Sunday, top of the table Motherwell will hope to continue their unbeaten start to the season as they welcome Hearts to Fir Park.
Elsewhere, on Saturday bottom of the table Inverness Caledonian Thistle will be looking to try and get their first goal and points of the season as they take on newly promoted Dunfermline at East End Park.
Third take on fourth as Dundee United host St Mirren at Tannadice. United will need to get used to life without top scorer David Goodwillie, who completed his transfer to Blackburn Rovers earlier this week.
Rangers have a weekend off from SPL action as they prepare to host English Premiership side Chelsea in a friendly at Ibrox.