NEIL LENNON admitted mixed emotions at the progress of Celtic’s Champions League conquerors Ferencavros who have gatecrashed the £30million-plus groups stage of Europe’s elite competition.

The unseeded and unfancied Hungarians obliterated the Hoops’ hopes of making progress in the tournament for the first time in three attempts after two consecutive woeful failures against AEK Athens and Cluj.

However, an abysmal performance at Parkhead in August saw the Scottish title kings lose 2-1 in an encounter laced with errors.

Lennon now has a place in the Europa League groups stages to aim for as he prepares his players for tonight’s play-off confrontation against Sarajevo in Bosnia where he watched his troops win 3-1 in a Champions League qualifier in July last year.

He reflected on the costly flop against the Magyars and the Irishman, speaking to the Glasgow Herald, said: “We were really disappointed not to beat Ferencváros as we only had ourselves to blame. But we dominated them and we should have won the game comfortably.

“That gives me a lot of encouragement going forward that we can do that to teams. But we have to be concentrated for the 90 minutes in all the right areas.

“It’s good for Ferencváros that they got through, but, for me, it’s tinged with disappointment, but also encouragement because in terms of our overall performance we were better than them – a LOT better than them.

“We can build on that in the Europa League. The important thing is to get through.

“The whole thing opens up if you get into the group stages. Then you can start to really look forward to the big games and the development of the team.”

Lennon added: “It’s important for the club to have European football every year. It’s important for the players.

“It’s been a little bit of a transitional period over the past five to six weeks, but we are starting to see the squad settle.

“We’ve freshened things up here and there because we’ve had a block of seven games. This is the sixth one and then we’ve obviously got St Johnstone at the weekend.

“We’ve won five out of five and we’ll endeavour to win all seven now.”

* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Sarajevo v Celtic this evening – only in your champion CQN.

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