Celtic returns to UCL group stage

Goals from Gary Hooper and Victor Wanyama saw Celtic ease past Helsingborg 4-0 on aggregate and into the group stage of the Champions League for the first time since the 2008-09 season.

Neil Lennon’s men took a 2-0 lead into the second leg of their play-off against the Swedish side at Parkhead and Hooper’s close-range strike on the half-hour mark, albeit from what looked like an offside position, effectively ended the contest.

Two minutes from time Wanyama headed in a Kris Commons cross to put gloss on a fine victory and confirm the Hoops’ place in Thursday’s draw in Monaco.

Celtic will face tougher challenges ahead but the boost from the club’s participation in European football’s elite club competition, both in terms of finance and morale, and in lifting the profile of the game in Scotland, cannot be underestimated.

After the game Neil Lennon branded their triumph as his greatest achievement in football.

Goals from Gary Hooper and Victor Wanyama saw Celtic ease past Helsingborg 4-0 on aggregate and into the group stage of the Champions League for the first time since the 2008/09 season.

"It’s the best thing I’ve done in football," Lennon said on Sky Sports 2. "The pressure going into this game and, in particular the last five or six weeks, has been enormous.

"I actually feel British clubs going into these games are at an unfair disadvantage because they’re starting their season, so it makes the effort of the players and the performances even more remarkable in the circumstances."

The Northern Irishman added: "You know what it means to the fans here and the club.

"It’s been four years in the waiting and I’m just so happy and so proud of them."