Communities League Cup
October 30, 2012
Lennon out for revenge
Neil Lennon has warned St Johnstone that his Celtic players will be on a revenge mission when the two sides meet in the quarter-final of the Scottish Communities League Cup.
The Hoops boss is still unhappy about their defeat at the hands of Saints in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at McDiarmid Park last month.
Celtic also head into the cup tie on the back of a poor 2-0 loss to Kilmarnock at the weekend and Lennon has made it clear he wants payback for both of those results.
He said: "There will be a bit of revenge in the air. I'm sure the players will be very motivated.
"I'm looking for a really good reaction and I'm sure I'll get that.
"I'm not going to give my team away but it's fair to say it will be a pretty strong team.
"It's a quarter-final, off the back of a disappointing performance and result, and it's important we bounce back in the right way.
"They know how important the shirt is, they know how important it is to play for the club.
"They didn't do themselves justice on Saturday and it's not often I can cast that aspersion on the players. That's gone and we move on.''
Lennon refused to use their exertions against Barcelona in the midweek Champions League clash at the Nou Camp as an excuse for the defeat to Killie - the Ayrshire side's first victory at Parkhead in 57 years.
He said: "That's an easy way out. Our priority is the league.
"We had quite a proud home record for over a year, which is gone now, so we've got to start that all over again.
"Domestically, we want to put as much distance between ourselves and everyone else as possible, as quickly as possible.
"Our play in general was insipid for us, there was no snap to our play, our passing was poor and that was uncharacteristic of the way we have played.
"We had a bad day and I'll make sure that doesn't happen again.''
Scott Brown will be added to the Celtic squad. The Hoops skipper has an ongoing hip problem and was rested on Saturday.
Georgios Samaras is making good progress on his recovery from an ankle injury, while Lassad and Dylan McGeouch remain on the sidelines.
Meanwhile, Steve Lomas knows his St Johnstone side face a daunting task against a Celtic team riled by recent defeats.
"We're massive underdogs but we go there in good heart,'' Lomas told Press Association Sport.
"We've seen what Kilmarnock were able to achieve. Neil's been saying they want a response, so it's probably the worst time to play Celtic.
"They'll be wounded, they'll want to bounce back - it will make it tougher for us.''
Lomas downplayed the significance of his side's 2-1 win on September 15, a result which sparked a seven-match unbeaten run ahead of the trip to Parkhead.
"It's a totally different game,'' Lomas said.
"It's about who performs on the night. We're under no illusions it will be very, very difficult.
"We're really looking forward to it. The boys always enjoy playing at Celtic. We're going to go there, give it a right go, given the size of the task.''
Striker Gregory Tade, who scored the equalising goal at McDiarmid Park against Celtic before Rowan Vine struck the winner, had to go off with a blow to the leg.
"It's looking doubtful for Gregory,'' Lomas said.
Defender Frazer Wright was also forced off with a broken nose, adding to an injury list that for the Caley Thistle clash included Peter Pawlett (hamstring), Craig Beattie (thigh), Jamie Adams (back) and Paddy Cregg (hamstring).
"We've probably been getting away with a little bit of luck with injuries,'' Lomas said.
"For two Saturdays we only had 13 outfield players, so somewhere down the line you're going to come a cropper.''