WHAT better way could there be for Celtic to warm-up for what promises to a bruising encounter with doughty challengers who are hoping to strip them of their title than by sitting down to watch Andy Ruiz Jnr and Anthony Joshua slug it out again for the world heavyweight crown?

Neil Lennon and his players are unlikely to be troubled greatly by pre-match nerves in the build-up to the Betfred Cup final against Rangers at Hampden tomorrow given their extensive experience of such occasions in the past.

Nevertheless, Lennon is hopeful taking in Ruiz Jnr v Joshua II in the Diriyah Arena in Saudi Arabia tonight – a fight which has been billed as the “Clash in the Dunes” - will help to take his players’ minds off impending hostilities and deliver a knockout blow to their resurgent city rivals.

“I don’t know how I’ll feel when I wake up on Sunday,” said Lennon at his cup final media conference at Hampen yesterday. “I’m sure I will still have the wee knot in the stomach, but sometimes that’s a good thing.

“I want all the prep done by tomorrow so that we can go away Saturday evening and relax, maybe enjoy the boxing, switch off for a little while. I think that’s important. Then we will focus again come Sunday.

“Once the game starts, you are fine. You are in the throes of the game and your concentration levels are totally on the game. Sometimes in the build-up it can get a bit fraught. I wouldn’t say anxious but you do get a bit giddy. It (watching the boxing) takes their mind off things.”

Not that Lennon feels Kristoffer Ajer, Scott Brown, Ryan Christie, Odsonne Edouard, James Forrest, Fraser Forster and Callum McGregor, who will be attempting to land Celtic’s 10th consecutive domestic trophy, are likely to be overly apprehensive ahead of their meeting with Steven Gerrard’s charges.

“These guys have got vast experience now, whether it be league cup finals or cup finals or winning leagues,” he said. “I don’t take it for granted. There is a relentlessness about them in terms of chasing trophies. They’ve got the bit between their teeth.

“That was quite evident in the semi-final (they defeat Hibernian 5-2 last month). It was a pressure game and they played brilliantly. They were quite free in the way they played. I’m hoping they can bring that sort of mindset into the game on Sunday.”

This match is, with Rangers having improved further under Gerrard this term and bidding to end their unprecedented spell of domestic dominance, too close to call. But for Lennon the pressure is not as great as it was in the William Hill Scottish Cup final against Hearts back in March when the treble treble, as well as his future employment, depended on victory.

“That was really heavy that one,” he said. “It does feel more relaxed for me. I don’t know about any of the players. There is less talk. I mean everything was about the treble treble going into that.

“We had to win the quarter-final otherwise I might not get the job, had to win the semi-final or I might not get the job, had to win the final or I might not get the job. But they came through it brilliantly.

“This one? If you lose it, it would be a bit of a downer psychologically. There is no question of that. If you win it, then it’s business as usual. We go on to Cluj (Celtic play their final Europa League group game in Romania on Thursday) and then we have a real heavy schedule of league games before the break.

“Rangers have definitely improved, but then so have we. We have our own targets and objectives for the game and the players don’t listen to the outside noise. They keep things calm and that experience of these occasions is invaluable.”

Lennon appreciates that many neutral observers as well as Rangers fans will be hoping that Celtic lose tomorrow due to the fact they have won every major piece of silverware in Scottish football in the past three years. But he is undeterred.

“That’s just natural,” he said. “It’s understandable. I don’t take it personally. I used to but I am alright now.”