Celtic news – Samaras agrees stay, Lennon ban accepted, Treble hopes alive

Treble hopes alive.

Celtic will now face Aberdeen in the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup after a Joe Ledley brace fired them to a 2-1 victory at Inverness Caledonian Thistle in Wednesday´s re-arranged fixture.

Caley top scorer Adam Rooney had broken the deadlock two minutes before the interval, converting a penalty after Glen Loovens had fouled Richie Foran in the box, but Ledley equalised on the stroke of half-time when he turned in Emilio Izaguirre´s cross.

Ledley then netted the decider on 68 minutes following a foul on Izaguirre near the touchline. Korean midfielder Ki Sung Yeung swung over the resultant free-kick and the 24-year-old Welshman was on hand at the far post to head past keeper Ryan Esson to keep the Hoops´ hopes of the treble alive.

Aberdeen beat St Mirren 2-1 at Pittodrie to set up next month´s semi-final tie.

Lennon ban accepted.

Celtic have decided not to challenge the four-match ban imposed on boss Neil Lennon after his touchline bust-up with Ally McCoist at Parkhead two weeks ago.

A statement on the club´s official website read: “Celtic Football Club confirms that Neil Lennon has not challenged the imposition of an automatic four match suspension arising from the Celtic v Rangers match on March 2.”

It added: “Neil and the club have decided, in the wider interests of the club and Scottish football, not to appeal against the imposition of the ban or the reasons for it.

“In accordance with the SFA’s disciplinary procedures and the SFA’s original intimation of the ban issued on March 9, Neil will be serving this suspension concurrently with his existing suspension. He will therefore not be in the dugout for the four first-team matches.

Samaras agrees stay.

Giorgios Samaras has finally agreed a new three-year deal at Parkhead after Celtic moved to tie up the 26-year-old Greek on a long-term agreement, with Coach Alan Thompson believing it is thoroughly deserved.“Georgie has come up for us twice in big games at Ibrox this season,” Thompson told BBC Radio Scotland, “and he is going to be a massive player for us in the future.”

The ex-Manchester City striker had looked to be on his way out of Celtic Park in the summer, when he would have been able to leave on a free transfer with his existing deal due to expire. However, he has impressed Neil Lennon and his coaching staff in recent months and the Celtic boss has admitted he is “very, very pleased” with Samaras´ displays.

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