Celtic boss Neil Lennon insists his players will not be affected by the weight of expectation ahead of Wednesday’s away clash at Inverness.Celtic sit a point behind their Old Firm rivals Rangers, with a game in hand, and could find themselves atop the Scottish Premier League should they bring home the points against Terry Butcher’s men.
And Lennon believes the pressure to win the title will not get to his players at the crucial moment.
“They have handled it so far. Everyone keeps talking about it except for us,” Lennon said.
“We just want them to go and play and express themselves the way they have done for the majority of the season.”
“Everyone outside of football says it’s about holding your nerve. It is to a certain extent but it’s just about having the ability to express yourselves under pressure.”
With the season’s end in sight, and Celtic having played 47 games in all competitions so far, Lennon highlighted the importance of keeping his troops mentality fresh.
“These guys have been under pressure all season, and as the finishing line gets closer, obviously the games get a bit more tense, but we’ll keep that tenseness away from them, that’s our job,” he said.
“It’s important we keep them fresh and in a good frame of mind but they are doing that with their performances.”
“They don’t know any different so maybe that can work in their favour.”
Lennon, 39, who made more than 200 appearances for the Glaswegians and notched up 40 caps for Northern Ireland, said he was familiar with the pressure the players were under.
“I’ve been there as an experienced player but the pressure is still the same whether you have the experience or not,” Lennon said.
“It can help obviously but it doesn’t change the fact that every season throws up different challenges and pressures and Rangers will be feeling it as much as our players.”