Neil Lennon acknowledges that Celtic can not afford to lose his career’s greatest Old Firm derby.

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NEIL LENNON says the game against Rangers today is the best Old Firm derby he’s ever been interested in as a Celtic look to save their 10th-in-a-row dream.

If they want some hope of closing the 16-point gap at the top of the Premier League table, Lennon says Celtic can not afford to lose the lunchtime game at Ibrox.

Asked whether it was the most significant Glasgow derby in which he had been involved as a player or manager, Lennon said: “Yes. They are always important, but it is important that we do not lose the game in the position we are in.”

We’re playing well, we’ve found some form and consistency at the right time, so it’s crucial that we take that into the game against a team that started the season brilliantly.

“But it’s not above us. I think we’ll go into the game with a positive attitude and take the game against Rangers as best we can.”

Lennon claims today’s victory will not only keep his team within Rangers’ striking distance, but will also place the pressure on Steven Gerrard’s side to prevent a similar dip in shape that ended last season’s title hopes this time.

He said, “We have to give them the benefit of the doubt,”

Now we have to continue to work and be reliable. We have to apply pressure.

“For us to play catch-up is a change and we have a lot of work to do.

It’s not above us, as I said, we’re not going to give up.

“You have to go into the game and have the right attitude from the start.”

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