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Sport Neil Lennon admits Celtic 'encouragement' from Champions League exit as boss targets European development

10:31  01 october  2020
10:31  01 october  2020 Source:   msn.com

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There's one road in and out of Sarajevo which was once one of the most dangerous places in Europe.

Sniper Valley they call it. A stretch of unimaginable terror running all the way from the airport into the historic, bullet ridden old town.

Neil Lennon and his players my have avoided it yesterday when they touched down in Bosnia and headed north instead to a town called Zenica, where tonight their Europa League fate will be determined.

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Neil Lennon bemoaned a “wasted” first half and some self-destructive defending after his Celtic Celtic ’s first two efforts on target came in the opening minutes of the second half and they came Celtic now drop down to the Europa League play-offs where they will face AIK Stockholm or the

Neil Lennon 's Celtic side have been on the up since their defeat by CFR Cluj in August Credit: PA. One choice facing Lennon is whether to play Olivier Ntcham wide on the left or bring in Mohamed Elyounoussi. Much of the criticism directed at Lennon after the teams’ previous meeting stemmed

But the danger signs were flashing all around regardless.

Celtic’s wounds are not yet fully healed from the Champions League mugging they suffered at the hands of Ferencvaros earlier this summer.

And only last week they were almost roughed up on the travels again when Latvian minnows Riga threatened to inflict upon Neil Lennon’s side the second part of a disastrous double.

But the fact that they have made it here, to this final qualification showdown, by the skin of their teeth has not unnerved a manager who knows a thing or two about the perils of European travel.

Neil Lennon wearing a football uniform © SNS Group

In fact, far from being spooked by a turbulent summer, Lennon left Glasgow yesterday lunchtime all the more convinced that this time, his players will have their wits about them when he orders them back out there, into the line of fire.

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Neil Lennon has dismissed the suggestion that Celtic would compromise on European progression in the pursuit of nine in a row. The Celtic boss insists he is energised by the prospect of Champions League . However, Lennon admits the 32-year-old will not be back at Celtic Park.

Celtic boss Neil Lennon . Mensah is currently finding it difficult to break into the starting line up at RB Salzburg as club captain Andreas Ulmer is ahead of Mensah’s availability to be taken on a season-long loan from the Austrian side, comes at a time when Lennon admitted he is looking to add at least

Asked yesterday if this could be regarded, in fact, a mission of atonement for the most recent blotches on Celtic’s European record, Lennon shook his head and said: “No, they actually give me encouragement. First of all, we were really disappointed not to beat Ferencvaros as we only had ourselves to blame.

“But we dominated Ferencvaros- we should have won the game comfortably. That gives me a lot of encouragement going forward that we can do that to teams.

“But we have to be concentrated for the 90 minutes in all the right areas.

“It’s good for Ferencvaros that they got through to the group stage but for me it’s tinged with disappointment but encouragement because in terms of our overall performance we were better than them – a lot better than them.

“We can build on that in the Europa League. The important thing is to get through.

“The whole thing opens up if you get into the group stages. The you can start to really look forward to the big games and the development of the team.”

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Celtic thump AIK to reach the Europa League group stage and alleviate some of the pain of another Champions League exit . However, the evening was not without its worries for Neil Lennon as he lost Kristoffer Ajer and Odsonne Edouard to injury with Sunday's Old Firm game looming.

CELTIC manager Neil Lennon has confirmed he is after two more defensive signings this summer. The Hoops made a strong start to their pursuit of Champions League football next season by Following the exit of Mikael Lustig earlier in the window, Lennon is also hoping to recruit a right-back.

The good news is, having worked hard to devise a strategy for tonight’s play-off, Lennon believes he has identified some key weaknesses in the Bosnians defences which his side breached with relative comfort during last year’s qualification skirmishes.

He said: They’ve won their last four games and negotiated the last tie against Podgorica. They are a big physical team who have made a few changes from last year.

“They are conceding goals which is an area we are hoping to exploit.

“I don’t think they’ll sit in as predominantly as Riga did last week.

“They score a few goals so may open up a little bit more than Riga did. It’s very rare that you come up against teams in Europe who defend at home as Riga did from minute one really.

“We have to play with a real intensity. Riga gave everything last week and you’d imagine Sarajevo will be the same.

“We have to leave everything out there on the pitch. It’s really important for our season that we negotiate the tie.”

He is also able to add some badly missed fire-power to his own attacking options now that expert marksman Leigh Griffiths is back and ready to start firing once more.

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Manager Neil Lennon says leading Celtic to their ninth title in a row is his best achievement in The Glasgow side were crowned champions on a points-per-game average on Monday when the SPFL Lennon says the title is "fully deserved" as he eyes further glory. "Even when I took over and we got

  Neil Lennon admits Celtic 'encouragement' from Champions League exit as boss targets European development © Getty Images

Griffiths was on the team charter yesterday after returning to Lennon’s bench at the weekend. And the manager has not brought him all this way just for a stamp in his passport.

He went on: “‘He’s ready to pay a part. He’s really handy to have around so he could get game time if we need him.

“We’ll gauge that as we go along but he’ll definitely be in the squad.

“He’s doing okay although he’s obviously not played a lot of football but he’s been training the past few weeks and has looked more up to speed.

“Obviously the cardiovascular and match fitness through not playing games is lacking but it’s good to have him back in the squad and he’s been training well.”

Get in and out of town in one piece tonight then and Celtic, for the tenth successive season will have claimed a place in the group stages of European competition.

All of which proves, that in spite of the odd bump in the road, Lennon and his players have become experienced travellers during their time together

There can be no room for any accidents tonight.

Lennon nodded: “It’s important for the club to have European football every year. It’s important for the players.

“It’s been a little bit of a transitional period over the past five to six weeks but we are starting to see the squad settle.

“We’ve freshened things up here and there because we’ve had a block of seven games. This is the sixth one and then we’ve obviously got St Johnstone at the weekend.

“We’ve won five out of five and we’ll endeavour to win all seven now.”

Sean Ono Lennon on remixing father's music: It was therapy .
NEW YORK (AP) — Sean Ono Lennon’s first experience re-working his father’s catalog was terrifying and intimidating, but he had two main goals in mind to keep him on track: Preserve his father’s message in the songs and help the late icon’s music reach a younger audience. On Friday, which would have been John Lennon’s 80th birthday, “GIMME SOME TRUTH. THE ULTIMATE MIXES” will be released and includes 36 tracks hand-picked by Yoko Ono and Sean Ono Lennon, who serve as executive producer and producer on the project. (Photo by Matt Licari/Invision/AP) On Friday, which would have been John Lennon’s 80th birthday, “GIMME SOME TRUTH.

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