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LENNON’S ‘DELIGHT AND PRIDE’

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NEIL LENNON was jubilant after Odsonne Edouard struck the only goal of the play-off to put Celtic into the noon Europa League groups draw in Nyon today.

The Hoops will be in Pot One which means they could draw Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester City who are among the second seeds.

But that was of no concern to Lennon as he reflected on a job well done against a well-drilled Sarajevo in Bosnia.

The Hoops boss, speaking to Sky Sports News, said: “My immediate reaction is one of complete delight and pride. I thought that we were excellent. We should have won the game by more, but it was a dominant performance against a strong physical team, and well organised.

“There was definitely a fall out after Ferencvaros where we were bitterly disappointed and it lingers for a while, but, hopefully, that’s gone and we can look forward to the rest of the season.

“Since then, we’ve won seven in a row and we have one more game against St Johnstone to negotiate at the weekend before we have a break.

“Whenever we have a defeat, the magnitude of the criticism is huge and sometimes overplayed. However, you have to accept that and we have to galvanise ourselves again to pull through a difficult period. And I think we’ve come out the other side of that.

“We have so much to look forward to now, whether it be domestically or in Europe.”

Sarajevo No.1 Vladan Kovacevic was tested a couple of times in the first-half and coped well with the Hoops raids, but the keeper was finally beaten 20 minutes from time when he pushed away a low shot from Ryan Christie straight to Edouard who rolled the winner into the vacant net.

The only blemish for the visitors was an injury to defender Nir Bitton who was on the receiving end of a wayward tackle from Aleksandar Pejovic in only seven minutes. The Israeli attempted to stay on, but was replaced three minutes later with his fellow-international Hatem Abd Elhamed.

The midday Europa League Group Stage draw will be set out thus:

POT ONE: CELTIC, Arsenal, Spurs, Roma, Napoli, Benfica, Bayer Leverkusen, Villarreal, CSKA Moscow, Sporting Braga, Gent, PSV Eindhoven.

POT TWO:Dinamo Zagreb, Sparta Prague, Slavia Prague, Ludogorets Razgrad, Young Boys Berne, Red Star Belgrade, Rapid Vienna, Leicester, Qarabag, PAOK Salonika, Standard Liege, Granada.

POT THREE: Real Sociedad, AC Milan, AZ Alkmaar, Feyenoord, AEK Athens, Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Rangers, Molde, Hoffenheim, Hapoel Be’er Sheva, LASK Linz, CFR Cluj.

POT FOUR: Zorya Luhansk, Nice, Lille, Rijeka, Dundalk, Slovan Liberec, Royal Antwerp, Lech Poznan, Sivasspor, Wolfsberger, Omonia Nicosia, CSKA Sofia.

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About Author

Editor

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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