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Champions League Qualifying Third Round

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Lennon praises Celtic's kids

Celtic manager Neil Lennon praised his young players after they made up the bulk of the side which beat Liverpool 1-0 in Ireland.

Last Updated: 11/08/13 at 16:36 Post Comment

Young Hoops celebrate Balde's winner in Dublin

Young Hoops celebrate Balde's winner in Dublin

With a vital Champions League double-header coming up against Shakhter Karagandy, the Northern Irishman chose to field an inexperienced line-up for the 'Dublin Decider'.

Of the team which edged out Elfsborg to book their trip to Kazakhstan, only Emilio Izaguirre and Mikael Lustig started in a side made up mainly of the Hoops' emerging talent.

And a 12th-minute goal from rarely-used new recruit Amido Balde was enough to secure victory against their vastly-experienced opponents.

Speaking after the game, Lennon said: "Probably the younger players have learned a lot about themselves and I couldn't have asked any more from them really.

"I thought first half we were really good but we flagged a little bit at the end and we were probably fortunate to win.

"I've looked at the performance overall and thought they can compete at this level. I won't get carried away with it obviously but there were some great performances.

"The quality Liverpool has you are always going to be on the back foot and I thought we could have done better when we broke the play up but we rushed our first pass but that is only a wee criticism.

"We defended well as a unit and our goalkeepers made some good saves when needed."

Lennon singled out match-winner Balde for special praise adding: "Amido was immense. He gave Kolo Toure and Andre Wisdom all sorts of problems.

"He was aggressive, strong, quick and took his goal great and that gave us real platform."

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