NEIL LENNON has called for more respect for Celtic’s following their Europa League progress that will see them take on Sarajevo in Bosnia in the all-important play-off on Thursday night.
The Hoops boss reckons his side were on the receiving end of some harsh and unwarranted criticism following their performance against FC Riga in Latvia during the week where it took a last-gasp goal from substitute Mohamed Elyounoussi to settle the issue.
Certainly, it hadn’t been the most enthralling outing in the club’s last couple of European adventures where they have lost only one of their last eight away games – and that was to Cluj in Romania in the Europa League last season when the champions had already won their group.
Lennon took time off preparing his players for this afternoon’s visit of Hibs and another crucial encounter during their bid for a historic 10 in a row to tell the Scotland on Sunday: “I wasn’t happy with some of the narratives after the game in terms of headlines where we ‘toiled’ and ‘scraped through’ – we didn’t.
“We were in total control of the game. Yes, we didn’t hammer them 3-0 or 4-0. We could have done. Albian Ajeti hit the post, we had another chance flash across the line, Callum McGregor flashed one across in the first-half, the keeper made a decent save from Ryan Christie. It wasn’t as if we weren’t creating chances.
“Jeremie Frimpong, particularly in the second-half, was a real catalyst for us going forward. We are adapting as best we can to the different protocols that are put in place.”
Now the focus is on the battle for three more Premiership points where Lennon’s men are searching for their sixth successive league win.
The Parkhead gaffer is full of admiration for what Jack Ross has achieved at the Easter Road outfit since taking over from Paul Heckingbottom in November.
He added: “He’s done a cracking job and they have recruited well.”
Ally eyes will be on the east end of Glasgow for the 3pm kick-off with Steven Gerrard’s Ibrox side in action against Motherwell at Fir Park with a noon start.
A favourable result in Lanarkshire could present the champions with the opportunity to go top with a game in hand.
* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Celtic v Hibs this afternoon – only in your champion CQN.