NEIL LENNON heaped praise on last-gasp matchwinner Mohamed Elyounoussi and the Celtic boss hopes his timely strike will “set his season on fire”.

The Norwegian international had to be satisfied with a start on the substitutes’ bench before he made his appearance as an 82nd-minute substitute.

The on-loan Southampton attacker came on for the out-of-sorts Odsonne Edouard who just did not get into his stride in the Europa League third qualifier against FC Riga in Latvia last night.

Elyounoussie struck in the fading moments as extra-time loomed and the Hoops will now face a trip to Bosnia on Thursday for the play-off against Sarajevo.

Lennon was delighted his team dodged a further 30 minutes and the prospect of penalty-kick and told the Daily Record: “I can’t speak highly enough of Moi.

“We took him out of the team for a couple of games and he’s trained brilliantly over the last week or so.

“He took the goal fantastically well and he’s a great example to the rest of the squad. His attitude is great.

“He’s worked really hard in training and I thought he looked good. He was probably unfortunate not to get on a bit earlier.

“But he’s come up with a really important goal for the team and the club.

“Hopefully, that will set his season on fire. He’s a great player and a great boy and I’m delighted with him.”

The Hoops gaffer continued: “Scoring early would’ve made it a bit more comfortable and you start thinking about extra-time, but I thought we would get a goal eventually.

“The timing of it was perfect and we’re all delighted to have negotiated a tough place and go into the play-offs.

“It was a big result. We knew going out of Europe was unthinkable.”

Frimpong, who was flying when he replaced the limping James Forrest in the 34th minute, was also lauded by his manager.

Lennon added: “Frimpong was superb, that’s the best he’s looked.

”I thought we wore them down. Of course at 0-0, you’re always worried they get something from a set-play or a deflection, something.

“They tired and I thought we would’ve been comfortable in extra-time if it had come to that, but to get it done in the 90, I’m very pleased.

“Riga just didn’t want to come out and play. I’m really glad we broke them down in the end.

“On a difficult pitch, we’ve played well and won and I’m absolutely delighted for the players.

“It was another important away win in Europe for us and now we’ve got another one to negotiate.”

Celtic will get back to the Premiership points-gathering business on Sunday when they host Hibs.


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