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Lennon prepares for tough test

Neil Lennon insists Celtic will have to up their game if they are to overcome Elfsborg in their next Champions League qualifier.

Last Updated: 24/07/13 at 10:23 Post Comment

Neil Lennon congratulates scorer Efe Ambrose

Neil Lennon congratulates scorer Efe Ambrose

The Scottish champions earned a crack at their Swedish counterparts after goals from Efe Ambrose and Georgios Samaras secured a 5-0 aggregate victory over Cliftonville at Parkhead.

Elfsborg booked their place in the third qualifying round with an 11-1 aggregate win over Latvian side Dougova and Lennon is aware of the threat they pose.

Victory over two legs against the Swedes will guarantee the Hoops at least six Europa League group-stage games but Lennon is looking to again join the continent's elite in the Champions League.

Last season the Hoops reached the last 16, beating Barcelona along the way, and having raked in over £22m from the run the Irishman is desperate for a repeat showing.

"I think the money is imperative for us, for any club really," he said.

"But from a footballing point of view it is about the development of the players, the experience they get and bringing their reputations and careers on.

"That is important but the more successful you are in the competition the money will come with gate revenues, sponsorship and television money.

"It is a fantastic competition and one that went well for us last year but there is no guarantee that we will qualify this year.

"We are going to have to step things up in the next week or so to be ready for Elfsborg.

"We know how important it is but I can't base my whole season on qualifying for the Champions League, I have to look beyond that."

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nd yet... Jermain Defoe is still going to pronounce himself gobsmacked when he learns he hasn't made the England squad for the Euro qualifiers.

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