Lennon to protect Maloney

Bhoys ace urged not to push himself in training

Maloney: Celtic star

Loading Market ...

Football Betting

Up To £30 Free Matched Bet

Celtic manager Neil Lennon says the club will be doing all they can in future to ensure Shaun Maloney is fit to play.

SKY SPORTS ON SKY There's more live football on Sky Sports than ever before, including the Barclays Premier League, UEFA Champions League, Clydesdale Bank Premier League, England away Euro 2012 qualifiers and La Liga. With four live Sky Sports channels, as well as Sky Sports News, you'll never miss a moment on Sky. Click here for more.

The skilful 27-year-old, who joined Aston Villa for a spell in January 2007, has proved a key player for The Bhoys this season.

He has two goals in his last three SPL matches and Lennon is not underestimating his importance to the team.

Mindful of his chequered injury history Lennon is against pushing him too hard, allowing him to simply train and rest without any other distractions.

"We have tried to stop him doing all that now," said Lennon. "We just want him to train to play football with us, then rest.

"Shaun is 27. He has got to the stage where he knows his body, and we know it too. He is coming into his peak years, and we want him to be fit and healthy and playing for us.

Over-trained

"Shaun over-trained at times because he is such a conscientious boy. He just wants to be the best he can be, and sometimes he overdid it to his detriment."

Lennon has strengthened his attacking options in the transfer window after acquiring the likes of Daryl Murphy and Anthony Stokes and with the emergence of James Forrest, he is delighted with his options.

Along with Maloney all off his players can play in a variety of positions, something Lennon welcomes as he is able to rotate players and change tactics and formations during the game.

"It is great as a manager to have this asset," he continued. "Shaun is very clever and is in great form at the minute. I just hope he maintains that form.

"Forrest can play both sides as well. Stokes played wide in a three at Hibs, and we just wanted to keep Murph central because we thought he was getting the better of the centre-halves, especially in the air."