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Celtic back Ki to steer title charge

GLASGOW (AFP) ― Neil Lennon has identified Ki Sung-yueng as the man to help steer his side to Scottish Premier League glory after his blistering start to the new season.

The South Korean midfielder joined the club in December 2009 and took time to settle at the Parkhead club.

However, the 22-year-old ended last season on a high with a man-of-the-match performance as Celtic clinched the Scottish Cup against Motherwell and the playmaker has taken that fine form into the new campaign

Ki’s displays have been pivotal in the three straight league wins over Hibs, Aberdeen and Dundee United and now the rising star has his sights on St Johnstone at Parkhead on Sunday.

And his manager is predicting big things for Ki, who netted his first goal of the season in the comprehensive defeat of Dundee United last weekend.

“He is a real asset for the club now, a wonderful footballer,” Lennon said.

“Ki has everything you would want in the modern-day midfield player. He is six-foot-two, a fantastic athlete and very good on the ball under pressure.

“He is good at passing, excellent with both feet and has a goal in him as we saw again last Saturday. We think he can turn out to be a world-class player.”

Lukasz Zaluska, who started the season in goal for Celtic, could find himself warming the bench again after the club brought Fraser Forster back on loan.

Gary Hooper, who missed out on Thursday’s Europa League match against Sion, may be fit to face St Johnstone but Beram Kayal, Glenn Loovens and Emilio Izaguirre will miss out.

Also on Sunday, Old Firm rivals Rangers travel to Fir Park to take on surprise league leaders Motherwell.

Stuart McCall’s side are unbeaten this season and have yet to concede a goal as they sit above both Glasgow giants.

Rangers could hand league debuts to defender Carlos Bocanegra and midfielder Alejandro Bedoya in the match at Fir Park having signed the USA internationals from St Etienne and Orebro respectively.

David Weir and Kyle Bartley both face late fitness tests in their bid to play a part in the match.

On Saturday, the bottom two clash at Pittodrie as Aberdeen take on Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

Only goal difference separates the Dons from Terry Butcher’s side and both teams are looking for their first win of the season.

Promoted Dunfermline will want to continue their unbeaten start to life in the top flight but face a tough task as they travel to Tannadice to face Dundee United and Hibernian take on St Mirren at Easter Road.

Also on Sunday, Hearts manager Paulo Sergio will hope his players don’t have a hangover from their Europa League exploits against Tottenham Hotspur as they travel to Rugby Park to take on Kilmarnock.