Lennon not missing Rangers
Neil Lennon believes Celtic's Champions League ties have filled the void left by the absence of any Old Firm derbies in the SPL this season.
Saturday would have been the first Old Firm derby of the 2012-13 season had Rangers not been relaunched in the Third Division following their financial collapse.
Instead, Dundee, who took Rangers' place after finishing runners-up to Ross County in the First Division last season, will visit Parkhead to take on a Celtic side who began their Champions League group campaign with a goalless home draw against Benfica in midweek.
In addition to the return trip to Lisbon, the Scottish champions have matches home and away against Spartak Moscow and Barcelona to look forward to over the coming months.
Lennon claimed it was those big European games which, in football terms, will make up for the loss of four Old Firm derbies this season.
"I haven't detected much of a difference," said the former Celtic skipper, when asked what impact Rangers' absence from the SPL has had.
"Eventually you move on. There has been a hole there but it is up to other clubs to fill that void.
"The games have been very competitive, the crowds have been good, and some of the football has been good.
"So at the minute, in terms of finances we will miss the four Old Firm games but it is not a huge loss from a footballing sense because obviously the European games will make up for that."
Dundee, who were invited into the top flight at the last minute, are struggling at the bottom of the SPL table with four points from six games.
However, Lennon is reading nothing into the visitors' early-season form.
"It is an opportunity that Dundee may not have had, so why not make the most of it?," he said
"They will come with no pressure on them tomorrow and that is dangerous for us so we have to be in the right frame of mind going into the game."
Lennon knows his own side have also struggled for league form this season.
He questioned his squad's attitude following the 2-1 defeat by St Johnstone in Perth last week which left the champions in fifth place with eight points from five games, and he is hoping that shock result will ensure there is no repeat against Dundee.
"I want to get consistent performances in the league and I want it to start tomorrow," he said.
"We have dropped seven points out of 15 which is unacceptable, although there have been mitigating circumstances.
"Perth is the only game I was disappointed with, we spoke about it briefly this morning and I think the players will be very motivated.
"They only have to look at last weekend, we would have been heavy favourites going into the St Johnstone game and didn't win it and we were favourites against Hibs at home.
"We have taken one point from the last six and that should be motivation enough for the players to say 'let's get going here'."
Lennon has spent much of the season praising defender Kelvin Wilson, who claims his fine form is a result of finding himself in a better place on and off the field.
The former Nottingham Forest player said: "It is nice to get a run of games, it is nice to be fit and I am happy on and off the pitch, that's the main thing.
"Aside from my Achilles injury, there were a few personal things last season, nothing to do with the football club or the fans but it is fine now.
"I am happy with my form at the minute and hopefully I will keep improving."
Striker Miku (calf) and defender Mikael Lustig (hamstring) are doubts while winger Paddy McCourt returns from a knock.
Skipper Scott Brown will again play despite an ongoing hip problem.
Filip Twardzik (groin), Anthony Stokes ( ankle), Georgios Samaras (elbow), Beram Kayal (ankle) and Joe Ledley (groin) remain out but Lennon is hoping the latter two are back for the Champions League clash with Spartak Moscow on October 2.