NEIL LENNON was determined to make sure Celtic achieved ten in a row against Sarajevo in Bosnia last night.
The Hoops boss went into the Europa League play-off knowing the club had not failed to get into the group stages of European competition in the previous nine years.
And the Irishman was out to make sure there would be no banana skin on this occasion against a well-drilled and physical team as they moved within 90 minutes of today’s noon draw in Nyon, Switzerland.
And the sequence continued when Odsonne Edouard, last season’s top marksman with 28 strikes, popped up in the 70th minute to steer in the only goal of the game after a low shot from Ryan Christie had been pushed out by the keeper.
The Frenchman pounced with his customary poise and claimed the effort that could see something in the region of £10million coming into the Parkhead club’s coffers.
A delighted Lennon, who had watched his team dominate a huge percentage of the confrontation, admitted he knew all about the stat and told the Daily Record: “I was very aware of that before the game. We didn’t want to be the ones to end the run, so from a personal point of view it pleases me that we’ve got the group stages to look forward to.
“You just never know what the draw will bring, so we’re hoping to get another couple of cracking games like we had this time last season.
“It’s all down to the work that the players have done. They deserve it and it’ll make the trip going home a lot easier.”
Lennon added: “The goal was really well worked and Ryan made the right decision to take the shot on because of the pitch.
“Anything could’ve happened on that pitch.
“It’s bounced up in front of the goalkeeper, he couldn’t hold it and Odsonne’s showed great striker’s instinct to follow it in and score.
“It’s a huge goal from him and for the club.
“As a squad, I couldn’t be happier for them. They’ve been absolutely brilliant.
“Now, hopefully, we’ll get some big group games to look forward to.
“It sets the season up nicely for us as well as providing some added financial clout for the club.”
Last season, the Hoops went into Europa League Group E and were matched with Lazio, Cluj, the Romanians who knocked them out of the Champions League, and French Cup winners Rennes.
Lennon watched the team make history in Rome when a stoppage-time goal from Olivier Ntcham gave them a 2-1 win over Lazio – the club’s first victory on Italian soil in 13 attempts. They also beat the Serie A cracks by the same scoreline in Glasgow.
The Hoops topped the section after drawing 1-1 away to Rennes and beating them 3-1 in the return while they also gained revenge on Cluj with a 2-0 triumph at Parkhead. They lost 2-0 in Romania after they had already won the group.