NEIL LENNON insists Celtic have now overcome the demons of their Champions League dismissal following the victory over Sarajevo in Bosnia last night.
The Hoops boss was delighted with his side’s performance as a 70th-minute strike from Odsonne Edouard gave them a place in Pot One for the Europa League group stages ballot in Nyon, Switzerland, at noon today.
It was the second time in a week Scotland’s title kings had to step onto the European tightrope knowing there was no safety net to come to their aid if there was the merest stumble.
The players faced an equally dodgy encounter against FC Riga in Latvia where it took a last-gasp goal from Mohamed Elyounoussi to set up the encounter against Sarajevo.
Lennon, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “There was massive pressure on us, but that’s all from the Ferencvaros hangover.
“That was a game we should’ve won. We dominated e and lost. We only had ourselves to blame.
“So, we’ve had to suffer the last three or four weeks.
“But we’ve won every game since Ferencvaros and the temperament of the players has been fantastic.
“Now the season’s really opened up for us. I think this will spark our season.
“It was a very mature performance and I didn’t see any sign of nerves from the players. What we wanted from them at half-time was a bit more aggression with our play.
“Now we’re really looking forward to getting back to Scotland for the game against St Johnstone at the weekend. Our tails are up now, really up. It’s been a tough few weeks, but we’ve negotiated it brilliantly.
“It’s a source of frustration that we missed out on the Champions League, but we can’t dwell on it. A lot of people do dwell on it, but we have to move on and really make the most of the Europa League now.”
The victory over Sarajevo was the Hoops’ seventh successive win since their shocker against the unseeded Hungarians at Parkhead in August.
Lennon has guided the champions victories over Motherwell (3-0), Ross County (5-0), St Mirren (2-1), Livingston (3-2), FC Riga (1-0) and Hibs (3-0).
St Johnstone are next up at McDiarmid Park at midday on Sunday as the team chase another three points in their quest to take their succession of flag achievements into double figures.