Lennon: We are not there yet
The Hoops are 2-0 up from the first leg in Sweden, with most
people believing the return game in Glasgow to be no more than a
Perhaps the Celtic boss was worried defender Thomas Rogne,
skipper Scott Brown, striker Georgios Samaras and midfielder Kris
Commons, who all missed Saturday’s 4-2 win at Inverness, will fail
fitness tests and leave his squad stretched to the limit.
However, several times during the pre-match press conference at
Lennoxtown on Tuesday, Lennon was at pains to stress that the tie
is still alive.
“I am sitting here a lot more comfortable than I would be if it
was 0-0 or 1-1 or we were chasing the game,” he said.
“We are at home but we know the tie is not over yet.
“I am not getting ahead of myself. We still have to qualify
against a very good, motivated Helsingborg team.
“I can’t look too far ahead. Football has a funny way of kicking
you when you think you have cracked it.
“We have prepared as low-key as we possibly can for this game
because we know there is a lot of hype surrounding it and we are
trying to protect the players from it.
“Really, we just want to get the game started.”
Defender Charlie Mulgrew sang from the same hymn sheet as Lennon
as he revealed his gaffer has warned against complacency.
“Nobody in that dressing room thinks the tie is done, not at
all,” he said.
“The manager has drilled that home to us that we can’t get
complacent, it is only half-time and there is a long way to go.
“Of course the mind is wandering, thinking of who you could play
but you have to try your best not to do that and to do the job
“We are not thinking we are 2-0 up. It will be in the back of
our mind somewhere but we have to go out and do the job and try to
win the game.
“We are playing at Celtic Park and we will go and look to win
the game and hopefully we will do that.”
Asked if he could put the game in the context of his Celtic
career, the Scotland international said: “It is probably the
biggest. It is massive for the club and all the players involved
but we will be approaching it as just another game.
“We know what we have to do and we will concentrate on that.
“We won’t get sucked into the hype too much. We know there is
still a job to be done and we expect a hard game.”
Lennon, who is looking to take the Parkhead club in to the group
stages of the competition for the first time since season 2008/09,
did not look too confident when discussing his injury doubts.
“We still have a few nagging doubts regarding the boys we left
out at the weekend so we will see how they are tomorrow,” he
“Thomas has an ankle problem, Kris has an on-going ankle problem
and Scott (is a doubt) with a sore groin.
“Some might not be fit to play, some might, so we will just have
to gauge that tomorrow.
“But apart from that, we came through the game at the weekend
injury-free so we will have a decent-sized squad to pick from.”
The former Celtic skipper confirmed striker Mo Bangura has
returned to AIK Stockholm on loan after his ?2.2million move from
the Swedish club last year proved unsuccessful.
“He is away back to Stockholm for a year’s loan,” he added.
“He is still our player but he needs to play some football and
get himself going again.
“Possibly the expectation of the price tag weighs a little bit
on younger players at times.
“We know he is a talent but he has been hampered by injuries. He
is fit now and we think it is a good time for him to go and play
football and come back here a better player.”
Lennon admitted the club had expressed an interest in Auxerre
defender Willy Boly and Rosenborg midfielder Markus Henriksen, but
denied making a move for former Liverpool and Manchester United
striker Michael Owen.