NEIL LENNON is preparing his Celtic players for their Europa League last-32 encounter against FC Copenhagen in the Danish capital tomorrow night.

But it’s clear that nine is on the mind of the Hoops boss.

Lennon will focus on achieving a positive result in the first leg against the champions of Denmark and then attempt to settle the tie at Parkhead a week tomorrow.

However, the Irishman can’t push the title race from his thoughts as the team chase a record-equalling ninth successive title, a feat only annexed once before in the glorious Jock Stein era from 1966 to 74.

The side have enjoyed some memorable tussles – including a 2-1 win over Lazio in Rome – to reach this stage and have lost only one in seven away games, the 2-0 loss to Cluj in Romania in the last game which was meaningless with the Hoops already guaranteed top spot in their qualifying section.

They have hit the ground running in 2020 and have a 100 per cent record of seven Premiership triumphs and two Scottish Cup victories as they edge closer to a phenomenal quadruple treble.

Lennon is now split between continuing the great European adventure while making sure there is no backfire on the domestic scene.

The Irishman, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “Psychologically, Aberdeen on Sunday was a big win for us in terms of the title.

AJER AND HIGHER…Christopher Jullien congratulates Kristoffer Ajer after his late winner against Aberdeen.

“That’s what our focus has been on, but now obviously we can turn our focus to Copenhagen and we want to see if we can make any inroads in the Europa League now, as well.

“We are playing well enough to do that. We have been excellent. The players have been brave and have shown an abundance of quiet confidence and character.

“They’ve played very well away from home in Europe and I’m really hoping for more of the same tomorrow.

“That was a hard game at Pittodrie and we are assessing who is fit and available for the game in Copenhagen.

“You never park the league when you are in a title race. It’s always at the back of your mind.

‘We have a big game on Sunday against Kilmarnock, who seem to have found their mojo again, so we are not taking anything for granted on that.”

Lennon added: “There is so much going on all around us. We can’t take our eye off anything or let our foot slide from the pedal.

‘We will have a chat about things before the game and see how we go about it.

“I’m pleased with what I have seen with the players and very pleased with what I’ve seen of the fitness levels, as well.

“It’s a big ask with the amount of games we are playing, but Jozo Simunovic will be available for the Parken and that’s a bonus.

“We had Nir Bitton back at Pittodrie and Jeremie Frimpong will be available for the first time in the competition.”


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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