Neil Lennon spoke of his pride in his team and fans as he reflected on last night’s famous win over Lazio.
Ominously for opponents of the treble Treble winners, the Celtic boss immediately looked forward to strengthening the team in January with an eye on further progress in the competition.
Celtic have the luxury of knowing they’ve already guaranteed football after Christmas, but still hope to finish at the top of the group.
That luxury, however, means that Lennon will get a chance to experiment with some players and give others some big game experience as he gets ready for a fresh assault at the trophy in 2020.
Speaking to the media after Celtic stunned Lazio with a breathtaking last-gasp winner, Lennon said of the knockout stage: “It’s a long way off. It’s after the January window and we’ll look to strengthen again. Going forward we are a threat against anyone.”
Lennon has enjoyed a remarkable nine months since his return to the club and insists such is the bond between the fans and team that this feels like the “real Celtic”.
Still buzzing after the game, he said he still was trying to process it. He said: “I’ve not really had a chance to reflect on the result, we got in very late this morning. The immediate feelings are of immense pride and happiness.
“It’s the sum of all parts. We’ve got a great young and dynamic coaching staff here. Their work ethic is fantastic and the players themselves are playing brilliantly
Praising the fans, he continued: “A huge credit goes to the supporters. It felt like the real Celtic.
“That connection with the fans and the players was there. There was a real pride for me last night. To send them home happy was as good for me as getting the result.”
All Celtic fans, in Rome and in pubs and living rooms would have felt the same. Last season, the club seemed intent on tearing itself apart at times.
Now, it has a man at the helm who would run through brick walls for the sake of that four-leaf clover upon his chest.
If he can get reinforcements in anywhere near the quality as Edouard, then who knows how far this side might go. In the meantime, there’s a crucial game against Motherwell on Sunday to look forward to.
Lennon said: “It was a proud night and one to savour, but we have an important game on Sunday. So we’ll park last night and prepare for a tough test.”
“They’re are having a brilliant season. Stephen Robinson is very flexible with their tactics. He’s been to cup finals and performing consistently well in the league.”