Lennon impressed by resurgent Dons

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Neil Lennon says Celtic's game with Aberdeen is 'an important one'
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Neil Lennon says Celtic's game with Aberdeen is 'an important one'

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has clear memories of the Aberdeen glory days - some fond and some painful - and is relishing a top-of-the-table clash at Pittodrie.

Lennon's team travel to the Granite City one point above Craig Brown's men, who have only lost once in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League since their late 1-0 defeat at Parkhead on the opening day.

The televised midday game has captured the imagination in the north east of Scotland with Aberdeen having the chance to leapfrog Celtic and leaders Hibernian and go top of the SPL, even if it might only be for a matter of hours.

Lennon grew up in an era when Alex Ferguson's Aberdeen dominated Scottish football. "Obviously I remember that great Aberdeen team, and the highlight was the Cup Winners' Cup final against Real Madrid," the former Northern Ireland international said.

"I remember sitting in the house as a boy watching it and jumping up and down because it was a Scottish team that were doing it."

After the collapse of Rangers, Celtic were generally expected to surge well ahead in the title race but they have faced a challenge at home from Aberdeen and Hibs, teams who have struggled in recent years, while exceeding expectations in the Champions League.

"I think it's very healthy for Aberdeen," Lennon said. "I'm sure there will be a really good crowd. They have recruited well in the summer.

"Craig's very shrewd and obviously with Archie [Knox, Brown's assistant] there they have great experience in the background. And they have been pretty consistent this season, which is something you can't throw at Aberdeen over the last few seasons.

"It will be a good atmosphere, you'll have two big clubs in Scotland going at it and we'll not be thinking about Benfica until two o'clock tomorrow afternoon.

"It's an important game for us. Our league form recently hasn't been great. It's not a major concern for me but it's a game where we can set a marker down."

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