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Lennon gutted by Europa League exit
Published : 27 Aug 2010 07:40:00Rss feed
Celtic boss Neil Lennon is feeling as low after the 4-0 Europa League defeat to Utrecht as he did after the Scottish Cup loss to Ross County. The Hoops claimed a 2-0 advantage in last week's first leg at Parkhead and appeared to be in the driving seat for a place in the group stages ahead of the clash in Holland. But a Ricky van Wolfswinkel hat-trick - which included two penalties - and a goal from Barry Maguire saw Utrecht progress in style with a 4-0 win on the night to leave Lennon reeling. "It feels as bad as Ross County, yeah," he said. "We had a decent advantage and we only needed to score one goal. But it's the overall performance, we were second best in just about every area really. "The first penalty was soft and for the second we shot ourselves in the foot. We've gone one down and just need to weather it and we get one goal and win the game. But we never gave ourselves a chance. "Refereeing decisions? I'm not going to go on about the referee because that would take away from a poor display. "I would just be making an excuse, but two penalties is really poor from us." He added: "I hope they're not a happy dressing room. "Right throughout the middle of the team we were poor. We said, 'look you might have to weather a storm for 15 minutes.' But we keep shooting ourselves in the foot. "That's three penalties in two away games we have given away and then we are not giving ourselves a chance. At half time we said we were still well in the tie. We just need to score a goal and they have to get two. "But I was just about to get back in my seat when we were 3-0 down. So it's just a poor performance overall and I take full responsibility for that myself." Celtic's poor away record in Europe - they have now won just once in 28 games on the road - means Lennon was never entirely comfortable going into this match but he admits there was also a problem with the mentality of his team. He said: "What I said afterwards is probably best left to the privacy of the dressing room, but again I can't keep going on about home truths. "I said everything I wanted to say after Ross County and I'm not just going to blame the players this time. Myself and my staff have to carry the can for this as well. "I never had any illusions about where we are. I was always wary of this tie but didn't think we would play as badly as that. "The mentality problem is there. There is no doubt about it." Utrecht coach Ton du Chatinier was always confident his side would mount a decent challenge at home but admits he was surprised by how comfortably they were able to overcome Celtic. He said: "We thought they were tougher than they played. At home, they played very well and were very sharp. "Utrecht are not so strong away from home but at home we are a very, very strong team. "I told you already that we have respect for Celtic but our team played very well today and it's a compliment for the team against the big Celtic." Despite heavy rainfall, the Dutch side were able to overcome the conditions and progress to the group stages in style. Du Chatinier added: "It rained today so there was a chance the match would be cancelled but in the end the pitch was better than we expected. "The team was prepared very well, they saw pictures of the first match in Glasgow. I need to pay a big compliment to the team."