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Lennon overjoyed to see off Dons

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18 Aug 2013 09:31:54

Lennon overjoyed to see off Dons

Celtic manager Neil Lennon was delighted with a morale-boosting victory over Aberdeen ahead of their Champions League play-off - despite suffering more frustration in his bid to sign a striker.

A Kris Commons penalty and deflected late strike from James Forrest gave Celtic a 2-0 win over the Dons, who had goalkeeper Jamie Langfield sent off when conceding the spot-kick on the stroke of half-time.

Lennon expects forwards Anthony Stokes and Amido Balde to be fit for the play-off first-leg against Shakhter Karagandy on Tuesday, and Tom Rogic and Derk Boerrigter also travelled with the Celtic squad as they left for Kazakhstan via Aberdeen Airport immediately after the game.

But Lennon revealed his attempt to sign Schalke's Finnish forward Teemu Pukki had suffered another setback, while the Northern Irishman confirmed his interest in Werder Bremen's Austrian international forward Marko Arnautovic.

But Lennon's mood was positive after his side ended Aberdeen's perfect start to the Scottish Premiership season thanks to the crucial moment midway through the contest when Langfield brought down Georgios Samaras after Charlie Mulgrew's lofted pass had cut open the Dons defence.

"I'm delighted with the win," Lennon said. "It's been a difficult week because the boys have been away. We only had one day to prepare.

"We were a little bit slow starting again but we started to impose ourselves on the game and obviously got a break with the red card and the penalty.

"But I felt we were starting to get on top. We made a little change with Charlie and Efe (Ambrose), swapping them around, because we were getting a lot of ball in midfield and we felt Charlie might manipulate it a bit more and dictate the play. That definitely worked in our favour."

Lennon handed debuts to centre-backs Steven Mouyokolo and Virgil van Dijk, the latter from the bench, but suffered a concern over Adam Matthews.

He added: "It's definitely a confidence booster and we will be able to add four or five players to the squad. We are having Shakhter watched today so tomorrow we can have a good look and prepare as we possibly can.


PA

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