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Neil Lennon: Celtic's clash with Motherwell more important than visit to Barcelona

Updated: Friday, 06 Dec 2013 11:01 | Comments

Neil Lennon: 'The Barcelona game will be a dead rubber but it's a game we want to get something out of'
Neil Lennon: 'The Barcelona game will be a dead rubber but it's a game we want to get something out of'

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Celtic's SPL clash with Motherwell tonight is more important than next week's trip to Barcelona, according to manager Neil Lennon.

Celtic saw their hopes of playing in Europe beyond Christmas shattered by a 3-0 defeat to AC Milan and their Nou Camp clash in the Champions League on Wednesday will count for nothing.

But Lennon is determined to maintain their unbeaten record in the Scottish Premiership at Fir Park, where Celtic lost twice last season.

Lennon said: "The Barcelona game in the context of the group will be a dead rubber but it's a game we want to get something out of, so we will go very strong.

"But Motherwell is more important now because league and cup duties are our priority.

"We played very well against Motherwell earlier in the season so I'm hoping for more of the same from the players.

"But Fir Park wasn't good to us last season. It's a different team and different players now, so we'll approach the game the same way we have done with all the other games this season."

The game is one of seven Celtic will play this month and they this week took up the option of postponing a game in January to have a mini winter-break.

Celtic will not play between January 5 and 18 after moving back their home clash with Kilmarnock.

"It was an option that all the clubs had and we just thought the timing was ideal," Lennon said.

"We have had a very heavy schedule in the first half of the season. We found the benefit of having the winter break last year.

"It gave us a chance to give some players a much-needed break and give opportunities for players to come back quicker from injury.

"When we came out of the winter break we were flying again so it was very beneficial."

Lennon would be keen for a two-week winter break to be incorporated into the Scottish Premiership fixture list.

He said: "They don't do it in England but I think a lot of managers in England would call for it as well.

"If you look at the Christmas schedule that we have here in Britain, it's horrendous, the amount of games we have to play in a short period of time."

"I think it's really important that you get a break after that. Two weeks would be ideal and if we have an opportunity to take that, I will.

"We are planning to hopefully go away but nothing has been confirmed yet."

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