Neil Lennon throws down Euro gauntlet to Celtic stars as he eyes Lazio win

Neil Lennon has thrown down the gauntlet to his Celtic side ahead of Thurday’s Europa League clash against Lazio.

The Hoops won a classic European tie under the lights at Celtic Park two weeks ago and have carried that fine form on domestically, scoring 11 goals and conceding two in the threee games since.

A four-goal hammering of Aberdeen at Pittodrie was followed by a solid 2-0 victory over St Mirren at home, before Saturday’s scintillating 5-2 win at Hampden against Hibs.

Now Lennon wants his side to take the domestic supremacy into away games in Europe.

Celtic have already produced a fine performance on the road, drawing 1-1 in Rennes, but Lennon believes the Lazio win has given his men a swagger.

He said: “I think they got a huge shot in the arm from beating Lazio confidence-wise and belief-wise,” reports the Evening Times.

With Celtic topping the group on seven points, Lennon insisted that’s where he wants to stay.

He continued: “We have seven points in the group and that’s a fantastic start for us. We don’t just want to settle for domestic dominance, we want to really make inroads into Europe as well. But we know how big a challenge that is.

“I do emphasise it to them, a little bit more. Without taking our eye off the ball with what we want to do here in Scotland which is pretty important.

“But to keep enhancing the club’s reputation and their own reputation, it’s important that we make a fist of it in Europe. They have done that. So far.”

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Lennon believes that while a win in Rome is there for the taken, he’s also wary of a reaction from a “great” Lazio side.

He said: “Do we believe we can win the game? Yeah, but we know how difficult it’s going to be. We also think we can get beaten.”

But Celtic, with just three defeats in all competitions since Lennon returned back in February, could hardly be in better shape as Thursday approaches, although Boli Bolingoli could be a doubt after going off injured on Saturday.

Lennon has Greg Taylor or Jonny Hayes who can deputise, while the manager also expects his evergreen captain Scott Brown to be fit and ready for the trip to the Eternal City.


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