Celtic boss Neil Lennon hits out at Steven Gerrard and Rangers over guard of honour snub

The two Glasgow heavyweights will do battle for the fourth and final time in the 2018-19 Scottish Premiership season.

The clash is a dead rubber in the grand scheme of things, with Celtic having confirmed an eighth straight title last weekend, but both sides will hope to claim the bragging rights to end the year.

Yet visitors Celtic’s title triumph begged the question as to whether Rangers would follow tradition and greet their rivals with an applause on to the pitch before kick-off.

Rangers boss Steven Gerrard confirmed to Sky Sports that the Gers will acknowledge the Hoops’ achievement before the derby.

He said: “”The club have made a decision on that and decided there won’t be a guard of honour, so my thoughts are irrelevant. I will follow what I’m told to do by the people in charge of the club.”

Some reports have suggested that the players’ applause of Celtic was banned by the police, who feared the implications such actions would have at the 51,000-seater home of Rangers.

Yet Lennon insists had it been the other way around, Celtic would have afforded their bitter rivals such a gesture.

He declared: “It’s a break from tradition. I think we would have done it if the shoe had been on the other foot. 

“But it’s not a major issue. It would have been a touch of class if they did it.

“I’m disappointed they are not. Celtic would have done it.”

Lennon, however, insists the lack of a guard of honour does not offer them extra desire to beat Rangers in front of their own fans.

Neither does the Northern Irishman believe a 1-0 loss to the Light Blues at Ibrox back in December will give them added drive.

He explained: “You don’t need any extra motivation for this game. We’ve had all the motivation for the last eight years and we are still going strong.

“The motivation is to go out there, play well, play strong and win the game. That’s your motivation.

“You are the champions, so play like champions. That’s what I’m expecting from the team on Sunday.”

Celtic midfielder Callum McGregor insists the players don’t particularly care about the guard of honour decision.

“In the changing room we haven’t spoken about it,” he said.

“We know we deserve to be champions and how hard it is to do it every season. That’s enough for us. We don’t need anyone else to pat us on the back.”

source: express.co.uk