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Celtic return to scene of triumph
Published : 19 Nov 2012 18:47:54
Neil Lennon will invoke the spirit of the Lisbon Lions as he attempts to guide Celtic through to the knockout stages of the Champions League when they play Benfica on Tuesday night.
The penultimate Group G encounter will take place at the Stadium of Light but Lennon will take his players to the Estadio Nacional to train in the morning, the scene of the club's famous European Cup final win over Inter Milan in 1967.
Several of the Lions were on the official flight on Monday where they were joined by the trophy, which took up two seats at the back of the plane.
A win for Celtic will guarantee them a place in the last 16 with a score draw being enough if Barcelona beat Spartak Moscow, and Lennon is looking for every advantage.
He said: "1967 is a pivotal day in our history and we all aspire to reach those heights again. The Lisbon Lions are a very special team, a unique bunch of men in the history of the club, and it is very poignant that we are playing in Lisbon.
"We will train at the stadium in the morning and let these current players get a feel of what is a special piece of history for our club. We did it (trained there) in 2007 and it might inspire them to play as well as they can."
After their remarkable 2-1 win over Barcelona at Parkhead earlier in the month, the Scottish champions are two points behind the Catalan giants with seven points from four games. Benfica are in third place on four points while Spartak Moscow are bottom with three.
Skipper Scott Brown (hip), Joe Ledley (groin), and striker Gary Hooper (hamstring) all travelled but Lennon has doubts over one of them, whom he refused to name. He said: "Two out of three will definitely be fit. I have a worry over one of them, we will assess him until as late as possible to give him every chance to pass himself fit."
Georgios Samaras, who came off during Saturday's 2-0 win against Aberdeen at Pittodrie with fatigue, and midfielder Kris Commons, who was substituted after suffering a dead leg, are both in the squad along with striker Miku who missed the trip to the Granite City due to what Lennon described as a "small procedure".
Left-back Emilio Izaguirre (hamstring), stopper Thomas Rogne (calf) and winger James Forrest (hamstring) remain out.