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  • Neil Lennon: We produced a confident and controlled performance

    Neil Lennon: We produced a confident and controlled performance

    By: Joe Donnelly in Estonia on 30 Jul, 2019 21:31

  • CELTIC progressed to the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League this evening (Tuesday) with what was ultimately a routine 2-0 aggregate win over Nomme Kalju. The victory followed last week’s 5-0 first-leg rout at Paradise, and Neil Lennon was pleased that complacency played no part in Estonia.   

    The manager praised the performances of both Christopher Jullien and Marian Shved after the match, both of whom made their competitive Hoops debuts, with the latter coming off the bench to score a wonder goal in second-half added time.

    Speaking to Celtic TV after the game, Neil Lennon said: “There certainly wasn’t any complacency tonight. We started very well and got a good goal early on which really set the tone for the rest of the game.

    “We had good control over the course of the game, we scored another great goal towards the end. I thought we could have had a few more, but I can’t ask any more than what the players are giving me at the minute.

    “The squad is looking a lot better, we rested some important players. Christopher Jullien got his debut, Shved was great, and Lewis Morgan had another good run out. I thought Ntcham was outstanding tonight, Tony had a competent game, and, of course, Craig Gordon got 90 minutes under his belt. All of that gives everyone confidence going forward.”

    Celtic now travel to Romania to play CFR Cluj in the third qualifying round of Europe’s top tournament, and Neil Lennon expects a tough tie over two legs. The first of those takes place on the continent next Wednesday, but ahead of that, the Scottish champions host St Johnstone on Flag Day this weekend.

    The manager added: “We’ve got the away tie first which we know won’t be easy. They had a tough tie against Maccabi and they prevailed. Cluj are experienced at this level and they have an experienced manager.

    “Going into the tie, we should be in good spirits. However, we’ve got the domestic campaign to kick off as well. We’ll obviously have to negotiate that first on Saturday against St Johnstone, and then we’ll travel to Cluj next week.

    “Flag Day is such a great occasion, it’s a great day for the home support, and we’ll hopefully get the domestic campaign off to a similar start as we have done in the Champions League.”

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