Sport Soccer

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Criticism of Euro hiccup unjustified -- Lennon

Jamie Holland

Celtic manager Neil Lennon believes there has been a "total over-reaction" to another night of woe for Scottish clubs in Europe.

As the inquest continued into how Celtic failed to break the deadlock against Swiss side Sion in the first leg of their Europa League qualifier at Parkhead, Lennon insisted: "It is a total over-reaction.

"We didn't play as well as we can but we dominated the majority of the game. My frustration was that the quality wasn't there in the final third, but we didn't feel under pressure at any stage of the game.

"Sion came to defend and we probably could have done more, but it's not all gloom and gloom, that's for sure.

"If we score (in Switzerland) it puts us in a strong position and this team is capable of scoring," added the Northern Irishman.

"I am delighted we kept a clean sheet because it kept us in the tie. I wouldn't be over-critical of our performance. We know what was wrong."

Striker Georgios Samaras was singled out for particular criticism by the fans and Lennon admitted that he gave the Greece striker a pep-talk at Lennoxtown yesterday.

"He seems to be the whipping boy at the minute," he said.

"I had a talk with him this morning and tried to keep him positive.

"He is a very important member of our squad and the fans will just have to show a little more patience with him."

Lennon revealed that his bid to bring in Cameroon international Mo Idrissou is "dead in the water" but was positive about the new contract skipper Scott Brown claims he is moving closer to signing.

Brown is a doubt for Celtic's SPL date with with St Johnstone at Parkhead tomorrow because of an ankle injury.

Defender Kelvin Wilson is very doubtful, while Glenn Loovens (hamstring), Beram Kayal (ankle) and Gary Hooper (ankle) are still out.

Irish Independent

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