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Livid Lennon blasts stokes after slip-up

Celtic's season nose dived again when they played out a lifeless draw with Hibernian less than 72 hours after comprehensively beating the same side in the League Cup.

Neil Lennon's patience with his players looked close to breaking point after the match as the Celtic boss attempted to explain a 12-point deficit on Rangers after just 12 matches.

Away fixtures to Motherwell and Inverness Caledonian Thistle either side of the international break look decidedly hazardous, with strikers Gary Hooper and Anthony Stokes in the firing line of Lennon's anger.

Both players scored in the League Cup win over Hibs on Wednesday but there was never any threat of a repeat of the four goals in 23 minutes that booked Celtic's place in the semi-finals of the cup competition.

"There are a few who have been consistent like Ki and Joe Ledley but there are others at the minute who are happy to go along, riding on their backs and not really making the contribution that I want from them.

"I have to speak to them and out them basically. I am not happy with some of them.

"I don't think they are giving enough in terms of the quality of their play or effort and I will speak to them individually and tell them what I think, and I am looking for a response from them."

Asked about Hooper and Stokes Lennon added: "I thought the two of them were poor and I need some more consistency from them.

"If they are not scoring goals they need to bring something else to the team and I thought the two of them were flat."

Lennon's scope for attacking change against Rennes in Thursday night's Europa League tie is limited, with only Georgios Samaras or youth team striker Tony Watt available.

However, the boss, who found himself addressing questions about his future at Celtic and about being linked with the vacant manager's post at his former club Leicester, will again tinker with his side for the visit of Rennes.

Victory could take the Hoops into second place in Group I.

"There has been a lot of football played in the last few weeks," said the former Celtic skipper. "I had a team in mind anyway so there will be changes.

"We have played okay in the last two European games and I will be looking for a really good performance on Thursday night.

"If we win, it we will be in a decent position in the group and that's what we are aiming for."

However, with Kris Commons, Mohamed Bangura, Scott Brown, Emilio Izaguirre and Kelvin Wilson still out, and Glenn Loovens battling against a hamstring injury, there is little wriggle room, even though Lennon was fuming with what he witnessed against the Leith men.

"We are stretched in terms of personnel," he added. "I might need to change something about training or look at that. I don't want to but I might have to because this can't go on."

While Rangers overcome all before them on the park, the financial crisis at Ibrox has worked its way into the dressing room.

With two former directors successfully going to court to freeze money in the club's bank account, as well as an arrestment from the taxman, there is growing speculation that the club is about to be placed into administration.

Midfielder Maurice Edu admitted: "How could it be easy to lose your job? It would affect us the same as anybody else. We'd be out of work and would have to find another job. That's a situation some people fear."