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Europa League Group D

Lennon: We need CL striker

Celtic boss Neil Lennon says the club cannot afford the top-class striker they need to compete in the Champions League.

Last Updated: 20/09/13 at 19:43 Post Comment

Anthony Stokes (left): In action against AC Milan

Anthony Stokes (left): In action against AC Milan

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Lennon's men lost the first game of their group 2-0 at AC Milan on Wednesday night. The game highlighted their need for a ruthless striker - the Hoops had a host of chances but failed to score and were punished by two late Milan goals.

Lennon is hoping Anthony Stokes blossoms into a striker of the highest calibre but he says the club simply does not have the money to spend on bringing in a bid name.

"We have lacked a Champions League goal scorer since I took over, we haven't had one probably since Henrik Larsson.

"They cost a lot of money and they are hard to find. What do you class as a Champions League goal scorer? Robin Van Persie? Well, they cost £20m.

"So yes, of course we are going to lack a Champions League goal scorer. Messi, Ronaldo, Shevchenko; they are proven Champions League goal scorers and you just don't buy them."

Stokes was making his Champions League debut in Italy and Lennon believes he can make an impact in Europe's top club competition.

"I hope he does score at that level and I think he is capable of doing it," he said.

"He showed the other night that he is capable of creating chances on his own.

"He was very unlucky with a free-kick that hit the crossbar and he was pretty close to scoring before the break as well.

"I thought he gave AC Milan all sorts of problems, so for his debut at that level, he can be very pleased with himself.

"I am not surprised with it. He has been a little but ill-disciplined in his past but certainly since he came back from his injury, he has shown a high level of consistency with his performances and I am really pleased with him."

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