FINAL FEAR COULD FAVOUR US - LENNON
Celtic manager Neil Lennon believes Hearts players could be affected by the fear of getting suspended for the William Hill Scottish Cup final in Saturday's last-four clash at Hampden.
Captain Marius Zaliukas, Rudi Skacel, Andrew Driver, Darren Barr, Danny Grainger, Scott Robinson, David Templeton, Suso Santana and Jordan Morton are all on one booking and would miss the final next month if they pick up a second yellow card.
Celtic, who clinched the Clydesdale Bank Premier League title last week with a 6-0 thrashing of Kilmarnock at Rugby Park, have no such worries and Lennon believes the disciplinary disparity in his side's favour could make the difference.
"It might be at the back of their mind, maybe subconsciously," Lennon said.
"I think it is very difficult to put your mind at ease knowing that you are going into the semi-final with a booking and a possibility of missing a final if you mistime a tackle, just once.
"I am not a great lover of the suspension era in the Scottish Cup.
"I remember getting booked in a cup final in 2004 and then missing the following round in January six months later and, believe it or not, it was a Rangers game.
"But it's great credit to our players, their disciplinary record this year has been fantastic and I am delighted that I have no worries on that front.
"But it will be a difficult game, semi-finals always are and Hearts are formidable opponents.
"Having watched them in the last round beating St Mirren, they have got good pace in the team, they have goal scorers and obviously Skacel and (Craig) Beattie are threats.
"We are going to have to play well, but it has been a great week. The place is vibrant, the players are ecstatic, and I don't think it will take too much to get them back up for the game on Sunday."
Celtic's last trip to Hampden in March saw them victims of a shock Scottish Communities League Cup final defeat to Kilmarnock.
Lennon is looking for that to be used as a motivational tool against the Jambos.
"I hope they use that as a positive," said the former Hoops skipper.
"They lost the final but there were no recriminations from me because I felt we played pretty well on the day. We have played worse at Hampden and won.
"But it can be a reminder that football is not guaranteed, you have to go out and earn the right to win and I'm sure we will see that on Sunday."
Lennon declined to comment on SPL proposals which could hand his side a clear advantage over administration-hit rivals Rangers in the next two seasons.
SPL clubs will vote this month on whether to introduce tougher sanctions for top-flight sides who go into administration or face liquidation.
If Rangers are liquidated, a 'newco' would be deducted 10 points for two seasons if accepted straight back into the SPL, and would also face financial penalties in the form of league payments being slashed by 75% for three seasons.
Lennon added: "I'm not going to comment on that at the minute.
"I think it's only fair that we wait and see how things develop or whatever happens to Rangers over the next two to three months, and when that does happen or it materialises then I will comment on it then."
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