NEIL LENNON has told his Celtic players they need to sharpen up defensively if they are to have any chance of winning the league, describing the frequency of goals they are conceding as ‘off the scale’.

The champions have shipped 33 goals in just 16 games since losing to Rangers back in October, and Lennon has pinpointed his side’s defensive frailty as a major factor in slipping 16 points behind Rangers at the top of the Premiership.

Celtic have lost 14 goals in 16 league games while Rangers have lost just five despite playing three games more than their city rivals, and Lennon has ordered his men to shore things up at the back.

"We have conceded too many goals this season - way too many,” Lennon said.

"It's been off the scale from what I have been used to and that's an area we have to improve on.

"But I was pleased with the defence against Ross County. It was a good clean sheet.”

Lennon has been encouraged by his side’s recent turnaround in form as Celtic have won four matches on the trot as well as securing the quadruple Treble, but he says that today’s game at Hamilton is the only thing on his mind.

"Hamilton is a difficult game for us,” he said. “They are a stuffy team on a plastic pitch.

"It took us a while to win the game the last time we were there early last season.

"We want to maintain our momentum but it won't be easy.

“The pitch is what it is. We have to go there and show a good attitude. Hamilton can get results when you least expect it but they a strong, physical team. They are well-drilled defensively and they can be a threat from set-pieces. It's a big game and we know what is at stake.

"We aren't looking too far ahead. It's just about the next game. We are 16 points behind and we have a lot of work to do.

"There is no point thinking about Dundee United or Rangers in the New Year.

"The focus is on Hamilton. Let's get the win and see what happens after that.”