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  • Manager: We take nothing for granted in European qualifiers

    Manager: We take nothing for granted in European qualifiers

    By: Joe Donnelly in Sarajevo on 08 Jul, 2019 21:01

  • CELTIC’S European adventure kicks off tomorrow night (Tuesday) against FK Sarajevo, the first leg of which takes place in the Bosnian capital. Neil Lennon reckons that the early qualifiers mark some of the season’s most challenging matches, and he is anticipating a hard-fought match.

    “These are the most difficult games,” said the manager. “The Champions League and everything that comes with it is brilliant, but the hard work is getting there. We could have had an easier draw, but the guys know what the incentives are and they know what’s at stake.

    “We’ve had a good tour in Austria and Switzerland. The players are in the best condition they can be at this stage. We’ve got a couple of players missing. Jack Hendry and Marian Shved haven’t travelled - Marian picked up a small injury yesterday.

    “I’ve had experience in the Champions League during my time at Celtic, as have these players. Qualification is one of our priorities. We know it’s a difficult road to travel but it's one we’re prepared and ready for.”

    Neil Lennon likened qualification into Europe’s top tournament with winning a trophy, but said he and his players cannot think beyond the first hurdle – an experienced and successful FK Sarajevo.

    The manager added: “The experience that I’ve had will stand us in good stead, and as a core group, these players know what to expect. I think it’s harsh that we need to play four qualifiers but we have to accept that.

    “It’s almost as good as winning a trophy, qualifying for the Champions League. This is the first step in hopefully achieving that. The game will sway to and fro and they’re going to be tight. We’ve no divine right to get into the Champions League, but from our perspective it’d be massive for the club to qualify.”

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