(Sporting Alert) — Defending champion Celtic FC will open its Scottish Premier League campaign this afternoon against Aberdeen in what could be a very difficult start at Celtic Park.

Neil Lennon’s side has been eager to get the season underway, following the preseason outings as they seek to defend their crown.

But while confident his Celtic team to ready to make a positive start to the campaign, Lennon is also mindful of the good preseason form of the opposition this summer and will instruct his Hoops players not to get too carried away.

Aberdeen have been very impressive over pre-season and have had some decent results in Germany,” the manager said. “Craig [Brown] has stabilised the club and brought in Jonny Hayes and Niall McGinn who will make them better.

“They have a good core of experience there as well so I will expect them to give us a very good game. They are in for a pretty good season this year.

“We´re ready for the season ahead, though. The majority of the squad is healthy and Wednesday night will have stood us in good stead for what´s coming tomorrow.

“We´re concentrating on regaining the title – that´s our priority. We had a great campaign last year and we look forward to tomorrow and the symbolic gesture of having the flag unfurled at the stadium.

“It´s always a nice occasion for everyone involved and then we get cracking.”

Lennon, in the meantime, has made three changes to the side that beat HJK Helsinki 2-1 on Wednesday night.

Beram Kayal and Anthony Stokes has come into the starting side for James Forrest and Scott Brown, who both miss the match because of injuries, while Thomas Rogne comes into defence for Charlie Mulgrew, who is serves a one-match suspension for the red card he was shown in the pre-season friendly against Ajax.

CELTIC TEAM: Forster; Matthews, Wanyama, Rogne, Izaguirre; Commons, Kayal, Ledley, Samaras; Hooper, Stokes
Subs: Zaluska, K. Wilson, McCourt, Lustig, Murphy, McGeouch, F. Twardzik


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