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  • Manager looks back at Lazio win in this week’s Celtic View

    Manager looks back at Lazio win in this week’s Celtic View

    By: Paul Cuddihy on 14 Nov, 2019 11:49

  • THE latest break in the domestic calendar for the international fixtures will allow Neil Lennon time to reflect on his team’s journey so far this season while also planning for the demands ahead between now and the end of the year.

    Given that Celtic’s competitive campaign kicked off back in July, it already feels like a long season for the Hoops, with the past few months littered with highs and lows along the way.

    The latest of those highlights, and one that stands head and shoulders above the rest, came in Rome last week.

    More than simply a highlight of the season to date, however, Celtic’s 2-1 victory over Lazio in the Stadio Olimpico was a historic one, delivering the club’s first ever competitive win on Italian soil. For good measure, it also meant the Hoops qualified for the knockout stage of the UEFA Europa League with two games to spare.

    For the Celtic manager, it was another triumph on the European stage, spoken of in the same glowing terms as the incredible 2-1 win over Barcelona back in 2012. Serendipitously, last week’s win over Lazio fell on the same date – November 7 – as the match against Barca.

    Speaking to this week’s Celtic View, Neil Lennon said: “I don’t know what it is about November the seventh. The Barcelona game in 2012 was the night after anniversary of the club’s founding, so I don’t know if that impacted the result.

    “We had a special event in St Mary’s Church in the Calton on the evening before the game where we spoke about the history of the club, about Brother Walfrid and how the club was formed. And on the night of the game, we just felt a crackling in the atmosphere.

    “Then, on the morning of the game in Rome last week, we went to the Scots College for Mass there,  and, again we spoke about what Brother Walfrid brought to the club, which was built on faith, hope and love.

    “All those little factors were, for me, synonymous with the idea that there’s something brewing here.

    “I went to the Vatican that day, and to the Colosseum, and I saw Celtic fans sprinkled around the city, and you start to notice the wee buzz in the air.

    “Then you walk into the stadium and you see that green and white bank behind the goal. From there, you’re thinking – come on, you’ve got to get a taste of this, boys. You’ve got to want to play here.”

    The Celtic players certainly responded in style, producing a superb performance on the European stage, coming from behind to beat the Serie A side thanks to goals from James Forrest and Olivier Ntcham, the Frenchman scoring with almost the last kick of the game.

    As he latched on to the through ball from Odsonne Edouard, some 10,000 Celtic supporters inside the stadium, along with countless more watching throughout the world held their collective breaths. For the Celtic manager, however, it was a moment when he had confidence in his player.

    “I knew he would score,” he said. “It was a great ball from Odsonne, who was outstanding, just breathtaking at times, and he deserved a goal for his play.

    “And I just fancied Ollie. I knew he’d dink it and we needed him because they were trying to force the issue and we just needed some fresh legs on. So not only did the starting 11 play well, but the substitutes made a huge contribution, and to wint here and in the manner that we did is just spectacular.

    “I thought we thoroughly deserved the win and it was just an unbelievable night for the club, an unbelievable night for the supporters who were amazing, an unbelievable night for me personally, but for the players, it’s all about them. They’re very, very special.

    “We wanted to enhance the reputation of the club in Europe. The team is doing that at the minute and you don’t know where the boundaries are with this team.”

    For the full interview with Neil Lennon and a FREE GIANT Lazio celebration poster, see this week’s Celtic View, out now.

    To download a digital version of the magazine, click on the banner below.

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