Lennon buoyant after convincing Celtic win ahead of Barcelona clash
NEIL Lennon described his side's performance in the 5-0 thrashing of St Mirren in Paisley as "magnificent" but admits they face a different proposition when they take on Barcelona in the Nou Camp on Tuesday night.
Goals from Gary Hooper and Efe Ambrose before Victor Wanyama grabbed a double gave an under-strength Hoops side an unassailable interval lead and Tony Watt scored with four minutes remaining to seal a commanding Clydesdale Bank Premier League victory.
However, the Hoops boss knows it will be more difficult in their Champions League Group G clash in the Nou Camp.
Before flying by private jet to watch Barcelona play Deportivo La Coruna tonight, Lennon said: “I think it was more than convincing. I think it was very powerful.
“It is a huge fillip for us but we know Barcelona will be a totally different game.
“We know we are not going to have the bulk of possession, we know we will be under pressure and we will have to take a different mentality into the game but I couldn't be more pleased.
“If we play like we did today and if we can impose ourselves on Barcelona then we will be okay.”
Lennon's starting team had several key players missing.
Skipper Scott Brown (hip), winger James Forrest (groin) and midfielder Kris Commons (hamstring) were left out and Greece striker Georgios Samaras was rested after struggling with pain from a recent elbow injury.
The former Celtic skipper updated his injury list, saying: “Lassad is a major doubt, he was feeling his groin again.
“Samaras was a precaution, he was feeling his arm against Slovakia the other night, so we decided to give him extra time to recover.
“Kris's hamstring is a concern so we will have to see how he is and James should be okay.
“Adam Matthews got a bang on the knee and should be okay and Kelvin Wilson was feeling a tightness in his calf and I took him off as a precaution and we will see how he is tomorrow.
“We are hoping Scotty will be all right. He had an injection during the week and it takes four or fives days to kick-in so we are hoping he trains tomorrow.”
The Hoops travel to Spain for match day three with four points from their first two games.
A goalless draw against Benfica at Parkhead was followed by an historic 3-2 away win against Spartak Moscow in Russia to leave Celtic behind their hosts at the top of the section.
Lennon acknowledges taking on Barca superstar Lionel Messi and his team mates in their own backyard is one of the most glamorous fixtures his players are likely to play in during their club careers.
He said: “They are the best club side in the world and they have been for the last four or five years.
“Arguably, they are the greatest club team of all time.
“Messi could be in the bracket of the greatest ever player. He seems to re-write the record books more or less every year.
“I think the way he plays the game, he is the type of player that everyone wants to watch.
“It doesn't take a genius to work out that they have some decent players in that team and what formation they play.
“We will work on trying to combat that over the coming days.”
During his time as player and manager at Celtic Park Lennon has learned to cope with the pressure of having to win almost every game.
He accepts this is one fixture where he and his players will get some leeway but insists that might be to their advantage.
The Northern Irishman said: “There are no expectations which is the flip side of what we are normally used to at Celtic.
“So the players can hopefully do themselves justice.”