Lennon ‘delighted’ to be on bench for final

SCOTTISH CUP FINAL:
Celtic v Hibernian
Celtic manager Neil Lennon says he was “delighted” to discover this week he is free to take his place in the Hampden Park dugout for tomorrow’s William Hill Scottish Cup final against Pat Fenlon’s Hibernian.

Lennon was found guilty by a Scottish Football Association disciplinary tribunal of entering the “playing zone” within 15 minutes of the final whistle of Celtic’s 3-1 Clydesdale Bank Premier League defeat by Motherwell last month while serving a three-match touchline ban.

Lennon’s ban for breaking the SFA’s rule 205, however, has been suspended until the end of next season and he will be on the touchline as his side go for the domestic double.

“It is very important and I am just looking forward to it now,” said the former Celtic skipper, who served a touchline ban during the 2011 League Cup final defeat by Rangers.

“I played in plenty of cup finals so to take the team out for another one is pretty special.

“I missed a cup final a couple of years ago and it feels there is a part of you missing. You are not able to do your job properly, you can’t affect the players as much as you want to.

“These opportunities don’t come round very often so to lead the team out on Sunday will mean a lot to me.”

For his part, Fenlon has urged his players to finally end talk of their Scottish Cup hoodoo by lifting the trophy this weekend.

The Edinburgh club have not claimed the silverware since 1902 and will be hoping to bring their 111-year wait tomorrow.

He said: “The only way to stop people from asking the question is to win it. It’s as simple as that.

“It’s the only way to put it to bed and we’ve got to try to do that.

“We can’t do anything about what has gone before but we’ve got a great chance and that’s something for myself and the players to embrace and enjoy.”

Fenlon’s men came through a difficult road to Hampden in order to book their place in the final and he wants them to cap an impressive run with victory over the Scottish champions.

He added: “We’ve had a really tough run to get to the final.

“In every game we’ve played, we’ve had to really scrap to get through, from the Hearts game, to Aberdeen and Kilmarnock, and the semi-final against Falkirk was a very difficult game.

“We’ve had to fight for the right to get here and we don’t want to give that up too easily now that we’ve got there.”


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