NEIL LENNON admitted he was “very, very pleased” with Celtic’s performance in the 3-1 victory over FK Sarajevo in the Champions League first qualifier at the rain-lashed Olympic Stadium in Bosnia last night.

The Irishman witnessed his players battling back after conceding the opening goal with some sloppy defensive work following a left-wing corner-kick.

However, Mikey Johnston fired in a spectacular 25-yard drive for the leveller before the turnaround and Odsonne Edouard put the visitors ahead with a typically nonchalant effort shortly after the restart.

Scott Sinclair, a substitute for James Forrest, claimed the third goal with a cheeky back-heel late in the game after a good run down the right and cross from Lewis Morgan, who had replaced Johnston.

The win sets the Hoops up nicely for the return leg at Parkhead a week tonight.

Delighted boss Neil Lennon, speaking to the club website, admitted: “I thought we were fantastic, especially considering where we are in terms of our condition and our lack of match fitness, it was a really strong performance.

“We needed that, because Sarajevo were good, physically very strong and we knew they would be a threat at set-plays.

“We conceded, then we got a great response from Mikey and from then on we controlled the game. To score three goals away from home, I’m very, very pleased with that.”

HOOP HOOP HOORAY…Mikey Johnston is congratulated by James Forrest after his wonder strike with Scott Brown and Jozo Simunovic looking on.

Lennon was more than satisfied with his players, both his starting line-up and the impact subs who influenced the outcome after coming off the bench.

He added: “Once we opened the game up, we were able to stretch them, wear them down and we looked a lot more in control of the game. The subs who came on, Jonny Hayes, Lewis Morgan and Scott Sinclair, made a great contribution, as well.

“It’s always important to score away from home and while I didn’t think the tie was getting away from us at any point, we knew that they were strong at set-plays.

“That’s obviously an area we’ll have to work on and with the likes of Christopher Jullien coming in, that’ll help in that area, as well. Our overall play and overall standard of play was very good.”

New £7million French centre-back Christopher Jullien remained on the bench with Lennon taking no risks with the club’s most expensive defender.

However, the 6ft 5in defender could make his first appearance in the hoops during Saturday’s friendly against Ligue 1 side Rennes at Parkhead to have his match fitness assessed ahead of the return tie against FK Sarajevo.


About Author


Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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