| -1.3°C Dublin

Murphy rues early blow as Celts crash in Braga saga

Daryl Murphy couldn't hide his despair as Sporting Braga ended Celtic's Champions League hopes last night.

A 20th-minute header from Paolo Cesar killed the tie stone dead with Celtic salvaging some pride and co-efficient points through second-half goals from new Bhoys Gary Hooper and Efrain Juarez.

Murphy was a 63rd-minute substitute for the injured Shaun Maloney but was unable to help turn around the three-goal deficit that sent the Portuguese side into the final qualifier for the Champions League.

"It's disappointing when you get knocked out of anything," the striker admitted.

"They scored early on with probably their only chance of the game. We knew that it would be a mountain to climb if they scored first. We dug in, did our best and scored two goals but that wasn't enough.

"You can take a few positives from the performance but it doesn't change the fact that we've been knocked out.

"The fans were fantastic tonight, even when we went a goal down they were still singing and shouting -- we couldn't have asked for anything more.



Alarm

There was plenty for the Celtic support to be encouraged by with the performances of Cha Du-Ri and goalscorer Juarez standing out.

Equally the alarm bells over the defence were again ringing out loud and clear with little in the way of confidence coming from the back.

Cesar's header was another soft goal conceded with Lennon well aware that major surgery is required if Celtic are to be successful.

Moves for Sol Campbell and David James fell through with Lennon's next move into the transfer market dependent on the outcome of the Aiden McGeady transfer saga.

Discussing his side's defending the Celtic boss admitted: "We always knew we had to keep the door shut at the back but we keep conceding soft goals. We always wanted more defenders but it's easier said than done."

Lennon was set to get an indicator on how much he had to spend when McGeady returned to Glasgow today.

The midfielder's two-day trip to Moscow was headline news in the Russian capital where Spartak fans are angry about the club's dismal form. Reports of McGeady picking up a £2m-plus annual salary have not gone down well with supporters unimpressed by the way that their season is going.


Privacy