Old Firm build-up not ideal for Neil Lennon


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Neil Lennon will face the usual Celtic problem of missing players in the build-up to the Old Firm clash on March 31, with 13 stars leaving for international duty after this weekend’s trip to Dundee.

It is unlikely to have too much bearing on the title race, with the Hoops eight points clear of Steven Gerrard’s side at the top of the Scottish Premiership standings.

However, a match with their Glasgow rivals is always a big event for the Bhoys and interim boss Lennon will not want to disappoint.

Celtic will hope to add three points to their tally at Dens Park before the likes of Scott Bain, Kieran Tierney, Callum McGregor, James Forrest and Oliver Burke head off to join Alex McLeish’s Scotland squad for qualifiers away to Kazakhstan and San Marino.

Other players who will be away during the international break include Belgium’s Dedryck Boyata and Kristoffer Ajer of Norway, while Mikael Lustig will play for Sweden.

Emilio Izaguirre, Cristian Gamboa, Nir Bitton, Ewan Henderson and Mikey Johnston complete the departing squad members, so there will be little that Lennon can do until they return.

The good news for the Celts is that they do have breathing space at the top of the table and a slip-up against the Gers will probably not dent their prospects of yet another Scottish top-flight title.

Jim McIntyre will hope his men pull off an upset on Sunday as 11th-placed Dundee are in need of the points and can be backed at 15.00 to claim an unlikely victory, with Celtic on offer at 1.18.

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