Football/Soccer

Relentless Celtic out to keep winning against Rangers

Celtic's Callum McGregor hugs Celtic manager Neil Lennon as he is substituted during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match against Ross County at Celtic Park, Glasgow on Saturday October 19 2019. Picture by Steve Welsh/PA Wire

Neil Lennon believes he will take a relentless Celtic side into the Betfred Cup final against Rangers at Hampden Park on Sunday.

The Hoops have won the last nine trophies in Scotland and go into the keenly-awaited match on the back of 11 straight wins in all competitions.

The most recent victory was a dramatic 2-1 home win over Hamilton on Wednesday night when skipper Scott Brown scored an injury-time winner.

The Light Blues, meanwhile, let a two-goal lead slip to draw 2-2 with Aberdeen at Pittodrie on the same night, leaving them trailing by two points at the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership.

Lennon, in his second spell as Hoops boss, praised the attributes of his current side as he spoke at the pre-match press conference at the national stadium.

"There's a relentlessness about them," said Lennon, who believes there is a "very good chance" that French striker Odsonne Edouard will be fit after missing the last two weeks with a niggle.

"They refuse to lose, they don't know when they're beaten so it's going to take a big performance some day, hopefully not Sunday, to end this run of trophies.

"We're motoring on. The core group that have been here for the last three or four years have won these nine trophies.

"There are a few new guys playing in their first final but the experienced boys will prepare them for that, as will the coaching staff.

"It would be a great fillip to win it. We're on brilliant form. It's 11 wins in all competitions.

"We're looking forward to the game but we're not taking anything for granted. We know Rangers are playing very well at the minute as well.

"It's got all the ingredients of a cracking game."

The former Celtic captain, however, did acknowledge the potential unpredictability of cup finals.

"Every final is different," he said. The circumstances going into the game is different. Our selection will be different from Wednesday night.

"It's very difficult to predict how a derby's going to go because it's all on the day.

"Advantages? We've had great experience of winning and playing here a lot so hopefully that'll stand us in good stead."

Lennon is confident that Edouard will be ready to face Rangers and he declared Jonny Hayes (shoulder), Boli Bolingoli (hamstring) and Mohamed Elyounoussi (foot) fit and available.

He said: "They all trained today. With Odsonne in particular it's a day-by-day thing so we'll see how he reacted to today's training tomorrow.

"Would I be prepared to take a gamble with Odsonne? No. No-one is ever 100 per cent but we'll be guided by our medical staff.

"He trained, did the full session today and looks like he's come through it no problem.

"I'm always encouraged to see a player of that calibre on the training ground and there's no question we're a better team when he's fit and available.

"Of course it's his call. That's the same with every player coming back from injury and I think there's a very good chance he will start.

"With the other guys we've more or less got a full compliment.

"Some of them have been out a bit longer than others. The likes of Odsonne and Jonny have been out for just about two weeks, Boli and Mohamed have been a bit longer. But they are all in good condition."

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Football/Soccer