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  • Neil Lennon pleased with Celtic fightback in Rennes draw

    Neil Lennon pleased with Celtic fightback in Rennes draw

    By: Newsroom Staff on 19 Sep, 2019 22:25

  • NEIL Lennon praised his players for their resolute performance against Rennes in the Europa League and said he was pleased with Celtic’s start in the competition.

    Celtic took a point from their opening game in Group E after fighting back from a goal down to secure a 1-1 draw at the Roazhon Park in France.

    Neil Lennon’s side limited Rennes’ opportunities in front of goal with some good defending and put the home side under pressure with plenty of attacking football.

    The Ligue 1 side were gifted a passage into the game when Kristoffer Ajer was penalised for a challenge inside the box which was converted from the penalty spot.

    Celtic fought back in the second half to secure a thoroughly deserved equaliser and Neil Lennon admitted he was delighted with the result after an eventful 90 minutes.

    “We were disappointed to go a goal down because we had good control of the game,” said the Hoops boss. “I said to the boys at halftime, are you going to play and lose? Are we going back to that mentality? The reaction in the second half was very good and we saw the game out quite comfortably despite some bizarre refereeing decisions.

    “Looking at us first half the two midfield boys, Brown and McGregor were really good. Chris Julien had a great game and defensively we looked solid. It didn't feel like we were in any trouble and then the penalty goes against us. That's just something Kris has to work on a little bit but the rest of his game was outstanding.”

    Ryan Chrisite equalised for Celtic from the penalty spot after James Forrest was brought down inside the box. Christie should have been awarded a penalty five minutes earlier when he was brought down in the box. That, and the decision to give Bayo a second yellow, only made the comeback all the more difficult for Celtic but the Scottish champions were undeterred by the setbacks and got the breakthrough.

    “It's a clear penalty,” said Neil Lennon. “Ryan's got there first and the centre-half's taken him out in the box.

    “We feel really hard done by that and then Bayo's second yellow card is farcical. There's minimal contact across the goalkeeper's midriff and he's gone down clutching his face.

    “The referee looks like he was playing on and then decided to change his mind. Bayo had every right to go for the ball and in the end he's actually tried to jump out of the way. We feel hard done by in that circumstance and Bayo's distraught but he has our full support.

    “The players showed great concentration and discipline. I'm really proud of them and pleased with the result. We're on great form and the mentality of the team is really good at the minute.”

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