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Lennon expects trying night

Celtic boss Neil Lennon expects a tough test when his charges face Shakhter Karagandy in Tuesday's Champions League play-off.

Last Updated: 20/08/13 at 15:02 Post Comment

Neil Lennon: Celtic boss has full respect for Champions League play-off opponent

Neil Lennon: Celtic boss has full respect for Champions League play-off opponent

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Lennon hopes his squad will put the greater experience to use when the teams meet in the first leg in the Astana Arena.

But the Hoops boss is wary of the Kazakhstan champions after Shakhter's victory over BATE Borisov helped set-up the play-off encounter.

"Obviously we have more experience than Shakhter but they are at home and they have an excellent home record," Lennon said.

"They have already knocked out BATE Borisov who beat Bayern Munich in the Champions League last season so this is going to be a difficult tie.

"It will be a very difficult tie, particularly the game away from home. The tie is over two games and hopefully we will take some sort of result back to Glasgow.

"Our home form in the Champions League is very good over the years but we know we are in for a very difficult game.

"We are very well prepared for this tie and will give this all our concentration. We are not taking this lightly. We are not here for a holiday.

"We are here to play hard football. We have our own incentives to qualify for the Champions League."

Lennon believes the experience of getting through the same stage of the competition last season will stand him in good stead.

He said: "I suppose after last year you are a little more comfortable. But it is still quite a nerve-wracking time for all us involved although we try not to let that permeate to the players.

"We are relaxed, we had a great result at the weekend against Aberdeen and the players are in good form and looking forward to the game.

"We haven't had much time to gauge but I am very happy with the way the squad has settled.

"I have liked the camaraderie between the players and the new boys have settled in very well.

"Obviously we have lost hugely influential players in Victor Wanyama, Gary Hooper and Kelvin Wilson but we feel have acquired some very good players.

"They will take time to bed in obviously but we are very happy with the way things are going at the moment."

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terling needs to be told though that upon entering the Arsenal squad he will re-enact the final scene from Highlander where he will be thrown around a warehouse by cartoon dragons and then be a mere mortal that will only ever spend three to four weeks a season playing football and the rest on the physio's bed. There can be only one.....player available at The Emirates.

rodger's gusset
Arsenal interest in Sterling

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he game changed in our favour when Carrick came on. We were able to play further up the pitch due to having a player who can give and go with the ball and keep possession. Yet barkley made some runs and Townsend scored a good goal but carrick's inclusion and chiellini's withdrawal made the biggest difference to the flow of the game

ricky villa
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o, you've not silenced anyone Andros, i'm afraid. We know you can score a great goal, and it's really handy to have your direct running and willingness to shoot on the bench. But until you can do the other things expected of a winger (beat the man, put a decent cross in, stay wide etc) then you can't expect more than a regular cameo. Wonderful goal though, what a hit! No wonder Buffon wanted the shirt.

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