Lennon set to ring the changes

Neil Lennon was ready to ring the changes for Thursday’s Europa League clash with Rennes at Parkhead even before yesterday’s goalless home draw against Hibernian.

Neil Lennon was ready to ring the changes for Thursday’s Europa League clash with Rennes at Parkhead even before yesterday’s goalless home draw against Hibernian.

A lacklustre display against a side they hammered 4-1 in the League Cup quarter-final tie at Easter Road three days previously saw the Hoops drop 12 points behind Clydesdale Bank Premier League leaders Rangers and three behind second-placed Motherwell.

They have a game in hand over both clubs, but Celtic boss Lennon was raging afterwards and claimed he would name and shame the passengers in his squad.

That in itself should make their Lennoxtown training ground an interesting place to be over the next few days.

Lennon, who found himself addressing questions about his future at Celtic and about being linked with the vacant manager’s post at his former club Leicester, will again tinker with his side for the visit of French club Rennes.

Victory could take the Hoops into second place in Group I.

“There has been a lot of football played in the last few weeks,” said the former Celtic skipper.

“I had a team in mind anyway so there will be changes.

“We have played okay in the last two European games and I will be looking for a really good performance on Thursday night.

“If we win it we will be in a decent position in the group and that’s what we are aiming for.”

However, with Kris Commons, Mohamed Bangura, Scott Brown, Emilio Izaguirre and Kelvin Wilson still out, and Glenn Loovens battling against a hamstring injury, there is little wriggle room even though Lennon was fuming with what he witnessed against the Leith men.

“We are stretched in terms of personnel,” said the Irishman.

“I might need to change something about training or look at that.

“I don’t want to but I might have to because this can’t go on.

“There is still a long way to go but I can’t keep saying that.”

Stand-in skipper Mark Wilson was as brutally honest in his assessment of Celtic’s performance as his manager, even though he felt the stinging criticism of some of the Hoops players was “harsh”.

The former Dundee United full-back admits Celtic have regressed from last season but insists the title race is still not over.

“It has gone the other way if anything from last season,” he said.

“We are not even out of October yet and that’s the most disappointing thing but it’s not too late. We still have time.

“I would rather be 12 points behind now than in March or April.

“If we are going to take any positives, it is that there is still a long way to go.

“It has been a sticky patch with performances and results but who is to say we won’t turn it around and go on a good run, even though it has been so disappointing of late.”

Hibs midfielder Danny Galbraith was pleased by the way the Easter Road men bounced back from the cup defeat.

“It was a good result and we deserved it,” Galbraith said. “Not many teams go there and take a point and it was a great reaction after Wednesday.

“I thought we played really well, it could have gone either way but we were happy with the result.”

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