Neil Lennon: "As regards team selection, there will be no sentimentality involved in my thinking behind that. It is a cup final, a game we want to win and I have to pick the best team...to help us win another trophy."
Friday 18 December 2020 15:09, UK
Neil Lennon insists there will be no sentimentality behind his team selection for Celtic's delayed 2020 Scottish Cup final against Hearts at Hampden Park on Sunday.
Recent victories over Lille and Kilmarnock have seen the Hoops return to winning ways after a previous run of poor results.
Youngsters Conor Hazard, David Turnbull and Ismaila Soro were selected by Lennon at the expense of experienced goalkeepers Scott Bain and Vasilis Barkas, veteran skipper Scott Brown and experienced Australia international Tom Rogic.
Speaking specifically about 35-year-old midfielder Brown, who has been at the heart of Celtic's nine-in-a-row run in the Scottish Premiership and the club's bid to win an unprecedented quadruple domestic treble, Lennon said: "He is a fabulous captain, fabulous player and I think at times we do miss him when he is not there.
"That's been the case, albeit in the last couple of games we have been giving him a bit of a rest, the team have played very well. There is no question he is a huge presence on and off the field.
"As regards team selection, as I said, there will be no sentimentality involved in my thinking behind that with my backroom team.
"It is a cup final, a game we want to win and I have to pick the best team for the occasion and to help us win another trophy.
"We are not there yet with the starting XI but we will discuss that and probably name the team tomorrow. Everyone is in contention. We will just try to put a team out to win."
Lennon is pleased with how his side has prepared as they go in search of a 12th successive domestic trophy.
"Nothing is normal about this season or this year but we have had a good week's training with no fresh injury worries," he added.
"Despite there not being any supporters there, the gravity of what lies ahead of us, it's a remarkable situation we find ourselves in and hopefully one we can make the best of and overcome.
"We are one step away from a monumental piece of history and I don't think we will see it again in our lifetime.
"It is a huge game and I just wish there were people there to see it and be a part of it."