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Lennon looking to win but rests players for Cluj clash

Neil Lennon will field a much-changed Celtic side in their Europa League dead rubber against Cluj on Thursday night but insists he is going for a win.

The Hoops have already won Group E to qualify for the last 32 of the tournament and, amid a busy fixture schedule, the Parkhead boss will take the opportunity to rest key players for the final match in Romania, where the home side need just one point to clinch second place.

Five players who featured in the Betfred Cup final win against Rangers at Hampden Park on Sunday were left behind in Glasgow, along with Australian midfielder Tom Rogic.

Skipper Scott Brown is suspended and 19-year-old right-back Jeremie Frimpong not registered for European football.

Speaking at the Dr Constantin Radulescu Stadium, Lennon revealed his squad with possible debuts for 18-year-old midfielder Scott Robertson and 19-year-old defender Grant Savoury and a first European appearance for highly-rated 16-year-old attacker Karamoko Dembele.

Lennon said: “Fraser Forster, Scott Brown, Callum McGregor, Odsonne Edouard, Tom Rogic and Ryan Christie – none of them have travelled.

“We have a strong team but we have Robertson, Dembele and Savoury in the squad but whether they start is another thing.

“The likes of Leigh Griffiths,  Scott Sinclair, Nir Bitton, Moritz Bauer and Craig Gordon will all feature tomorrow night.

“As I said before we’re going to use the squad for this game. In this busy month there are some players who need game time and this is an ideal situation to give those players that extra motivation. We’re here to be competitive and we’re here to win.

“We’ve had a fantastic campaign. We have to respect the competition we can take a huge amount of pride in what we’ve achieved in the group and we want to finish the campaign on a high if we can.

“We’re not going to make it easy for them. We’re here to play.

“There’s no pressure on us which is a novelty for us in Europe. There’s no pressure and that makes us a dangerous opposition for anyone.”

Cluj boss Dan Petrescu said in his media conference earlier in the day that Celtic are capable of winning the tournament.

Lennon admitted it was “a very nice compliment” but the Northern Irishman, whose side have won four and drawn one of their five Europa League fixtures, was not for looking too far ahead.

The former Celtic skipper said: “We have to play a lot of football before we can do that.

“We’re delighted we’ve topped the group and we’re looking forward to the Europa League in the second half of the season and hopefully we can make inroads in the competition.”