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As featured on NewsNow: Football news

Samaras relaxed over Celtic axe

Celtic striker Georgios Samaras understands why Neil Lennon dropped him following his hat-trick against Inverness. Samaras netted his first treble for Celtic during last Wednesday's 6-0 Co-operative Insurance Cup victory over Terry Butcher's side.

However, Shaun Maloney replaced the Greece striker in Lennon's starting line-up for the 2-1 victory against Hibernian three days later, with Samaras coming on for Gary Hooper for the last 20 minutes.

But Samaras believes Lennon is protecting him after a short summer break. The former Manchester City striker was playing pre-season matches for Celtic less than four weeks after playing in Greece's final World Cup match.

Samaras told the Celtic View: "I know they have taken extra care with me as I came in straight after the World Cup and sometimes I need a rest, and that is normal.

"It's not good if you play 90 minutes and then pick up an injury that puts you out for three or four weeks. I think the gaffer knows exactly what I can do and sometimes when I am not playing it's for my own good. And for the moment we have a good squad and he can use the rotation, and that's a good thing."

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