Lennon not fooled by statistics

NEIL LENNON is well aware of the statistic that has been inevitably thrown the way of Celtic managers in recent years every time that Kilmarnock visit Parkhead.

The Ayrshire side have not won in the east end of Glasgow since December, 1955 and are believed by many to be no more than a warm-up for the Hoops ahead of the crunch Old Firm game at Parkhead next Wednesday.

Lennon’s side have won seven SPL games in a row and are odds-on favourites to make it eight today (kick-off 1.30pm), but the Irishman would rather not tempt fate.

Lennon, whose side have moved within four points of leaders Rangers, was waiting for the 1955 statistic to be mentioned.

“Every time they come here I get asked that,” he said. “Obviously it’s a record that I would like to keep intact.

“We want to make it eight games in a row going into the Rangers game on the 28th.

“It is important to go into that game on the back of a win, just to maintain the run and keep the pressure on at the top of the table.

“The players are in buoyant mood at the minute without being complacent.

“I think we are playing well. Whether the players have hit the heights that they can I don’t know, but there have been some great performances.

“Some individuals are playing at the top of their game at the moment.

“Seven wins in a row is not an easy achievement but the way they are playing at the minute, it is going to take a good team to stop us now. But there is a long way to go in the season.”

Meanwhile Rangers boss Ally McCoist insists his side’s last meeting with St Mirren should act as a warning about the size of the task facing them today (12.45pm).

The Scottish champions travel to Paisley hoping for the three points that will strengthen their grasp on pole position in the SPL ahead of next week’s Old Firm derby. However, memories of the Buddies’ visit to Ibrox in October are still raw for McCoist and his players.

Rangers were held to a 1-1 draw when former Light Blues striker Steven Thompson grabbed an injury-time leveller.

McCoist said: “We saw enough in the game at Ibrox to determine that it’s going to be a really difficult game. I thought they knocked the ball about really well against us at Ibrox.”

Rangers face one of their biggest games of the season when they take on Celtic at Parkhead on Wednesday night, when they will be seeking a repeat of their 4-2 win over the Hoops earlier in the campaign.

But McCoist is well aware of the dangers of dropping points against Saints by looking too far ahead.

He added: “I’m not even looking to the Old Firm game until 3pm on Christmas Eve.”

Elsewhere Hibernian manager Pat Fenlon yesterday unveiled his first signing, striker Eoin Doyle, who was recruited after leaving Sligo Rovers.

Hibs travel to Dundee United (1.30pm) today.

Doyle, a goal-poacher, scored in a friendly against St Johnstone earlier this week, sealing the deal.

The 23-year-old, who scored 25 goals last term in Ireland, said: “First and foremost I want to get into the team. If I get into the team I want to score goals and we’ll take it from there.”

Providing international clearance is given and all paperwork filed, Doyle could make his debut in the January 2 Edinburgh derby with Hearts.

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