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May, 25, 2013

Beware Hibs threat, Lennon tells Celtic

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has warned his side to be wary of the threat posed by Hibs in Sunday's Scottish Cup final.

The SPL champions warmed up for the showpiece by recording back-to-back 4-0 wins, against St Johnstone and Dundee United, to round off their league campaign in style.

But Lennon said that sort of form would count for nothing if they failed to bring it into the final.

"In the last two games, the team has looked powerful and in the mood,'' he expained. "They have played with great intensity and quality, and I hope they bring that on Sunday.

"But you can never tell. I don't want to tempt fate and I don't want to have anyone pointing the finger at me.

"Therefore, it is important that me and my backroom staff get all the bases covered. We have prepared them as well as we possibly can for this game, and they will be ready.''

Lennon said he did not believe the heavy defeat suffered by Hibs in last year's final - when they were beaten 5-1 by local rivals Hearts - would have any negative impact on them this time around.

And he added: "We respect Hibs. Pat Fenlon has done a very good job there, and has got them back in the cup final for the second time in a row - he has proved it is no fluke.

"They will have their own incentives off the back of last season. I am sure you will have two highly-motivated teams going into the game."

He said that, were Celtic to lose, it would not take the gloss off a season that saw them stroll to the title and defeat Barcelona as they reached the last 16 of the Champions League.

"We have won the league, we have progressed fantastically well in Europe and this game is a nice bonus for us to end the season,'' he added.

Midfielders Victor Wanyama and Beram Kayal are suspended, while defender Charlie Mulgrew (knee injury) and winger James Forrest (hamstring) will be assessed before it is decided whether or not they can play.

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

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