Neil Lennon has demanded his Celtic aces give him a five-star finish to the year and open up an eight-point gap over
Rangers at the top of the table.

The champions are two points clear of Rangers as they kick off a run of five Premiership
games before the winter break against Hibs today.

And with one more game than Rangers to play, Lennon knows if his side win all five – including the Old Firm Parkhead showdown on December 29 – they will be in pole position in the title race.

And after seeing his side win their last seven league games, lift the Betfred Cup and progress to the Europa League knockout stages, Parkhead boss Lenny has now put the focus firmly on the title and 14 days that could shape their season.

He said: “Five games. That’s the incentive – we want to win them all – and try to win them well.

“But it’s no easy task. Hibs are up first and they had a great win against Aberdeen so will come in buoyant but we’re buoyant too.”

Lennon will bring back his big hitters after giving them the night off for the dead-rubber European clash in Cluj on Thursday. And he wants his squad at full pelt for the Yuletide push.

He continued: “I hope we can maintain the form because we are getting pushed.

“Leaving the boys behind in midweek will stand them in good stead. It’s a big week. Hibs, Hearts away, Aberdeen at home, they are three really important games and I didn’t want to take any chances in Cluj.”

Lennon is wary of a rejuvenated Hibs under Jack Ross at Parkhead this afternoon.

The Hoops boss left Leith under a cloud last January and his successor Paul Heckingbottom failed to cut it at Easter Road.

Jack Ross

But Lennon is convinced his old club have landed a winner in their new gaffer and he said: “It’s a great appointment.

“He did miraculous things at St Mirren and I thought he was harshly dealt with at Sunderland.

“He will do well at Hibs. He’s a progressive manager who likes good football. You can see them being more expansive already.

“These games are all tricky but the players are very determined .

“I look forward to seeing them all back together and cracking on with things.”