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  • Neil Lennon: We have a nice lead but the tie isn’t over yet

    Neil Lennon: We have a nice lead but the tie isn’t over yet

    By: Joe Donnelly on 16 Jul, 2019 17:01

  • CELTIC go into tomorrow night’s (Wednesday) return leg of their UEFA Champions League first qualifying round against FK Sarajevo with a 3-1 lead. It puts the Hoops in pole position to progress to the next stage, but Neil Lennon stressed the tie isn’t over yet.

    The manager said every team deserves their place in Europe’s top tournament, at every stage, and said that it's up to his side to prove their position.

    “We want to go out and try and win the game, not be complacent, and show the opposition respect,” said the Celtic manager. “We can’t take any team lightly in this competition. It’s a nice lead, but the tie isn’t over yet. Hopefully we can be sharper and fitter than we were last week.”

    The manager was pleased with the game-time a number of his players recorded against Rennes last weekend, and stressed that while Kris Ajer is a makeshift solution at right-back, he’s more than capable of filling and performing well in the role.  

    He added: “On Saturday, it was good to see Griff, Jullien and Morgan, and they’ll all benefit from that. Kris, on the other hand, is playing at right-back at the minute but it’s not ideal.

    “That said, he’s such a good player, he’s so versatile and he can play a number of positions. He’s doing a great job there at the minute.

    “Going forward, I could see Odsonne and Leigh as a potential partnership up front as they’re two very good players. When Griff gets up to speed. that’s obviously an option. He has worked very hard and it was great to see him out on the grass on Saturday. He’s a work-in-progress in terms of fitness, but we’re delighted to have him back.

    “Odsonne’s been fantastic in the time I’ve been here. There’s more to come from him, he’s in a good place and he’s scoring important goals for us.”

    The manager reiterated that first-leg goalscorer Mikey Johnston will not feature against FK Sarajevo at Celtic Park as a result of thigh strain. Likewise, Marian Shved is still working through a groin injury while Bayo is close to returning to training.  

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