sport

Lennon won't rest on laurels

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has urged his side to just focus on winning every game rather than set a specific date to wrap up the SPL title.

The Hoops are 19 points clear of Motherwell at the top of the SPL and a remarkable 45 ahead of Sunday's visitors, bottom side Dundee, who parted company with manager Barry Smith on Wednesday.

However, while it is a case of when and not if the Parkhead side retain their title, with the champions on course to settle the issue next month, the Celtic boss refused to look at it that way.

"You can't be as blase as that," he said.

"What we have to do is keep winning and force other teams to keep winning.

"So we have to beat Dundee and then Motherwell and if we win that then that will increase the gap over them (Motherwell) but it is all ifs, buts and maybes at the minute.

"The players are going for a championship so I don't think there is any extra motivation needed.

"There is clear daylight between us and the rest and we want to reinforce that lead, whether it be against Dundee or whoever.

"Dundee have had their problems but we are fully focused on what we have to do which is win the game and win it well."

Lennon is aware of the galvanising effect that the loss of Smith might have on the Dundee players, who could find out who their new boss will be before the trip to Glasgow.

The former Celtic skipper said: "Sometimes players get a fresh face in and they lift themselves but it is a monumental effort from them now to stay in the league."

Meanwhile, Lennon revealed Celtic have been in touch with UEFA regarding the performance of Spanish referee Alberto Mallenco in the recent 3-0 Champions League last-16 defeat by Juventus.

The Northern Irishman was raging at the official's refusal to punish severely some of the Juve players for man-handling Celtic players in the penalty area in the first leg, which leaves the second leg in Turin all but a formality.

He said: "We have made contact with UEFA and they will get back to us next week, so we expect a call.

"They haven't got a DVD. It was a chat over the phone and they said they would be in touch with us so we will have a long and I'm sure amicable chat over the phone and see where it takes us."