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Lennon pleased with performance

20 Sep 2012 06:17:49

Lennon pleased with performance

Neil Lennon hopes Celtic gained "a bit more respect" throughout Europe after drawing 0-0 with Benfica in their Champions League Group G opener at Parkhead.

Only skipper Scott Brown had Champions League experience with the home side but it was a spirited and determined performance from the Scottish champions although over the course of 90 hard-fought minutes they failed to really trouble the visitors' goal.

"I hope that we gained a little bit more respect tonight from the footballing world," said Lennon. "I think Benfica went into the game heavy favourites but I don't think you could call the game tonight. I think a draw was probably a fair result. It shows that we have a bit of depth to the squad and can compete at this level."

The Hoops boss added: "We didn't work their keeper as much as we would have liked but saying that I was very pleased with the team performance tonight. It was a very good tempo, a good shape to us, we were committed and played with real zest and no fear against a class side.

"It was a decent start for us, it could have been better it could have been worse. I think they will probably be the happier going away, I don't think there was anything really between the teams.

"There were 10 guys out there making their Champions League debut against a very experienced Champions League side so I am very proud of them."

Celtic play Spartak Moscow away from home in their next Group G fixture and Lennon said: "You would like to win your home games, it makes things a little difficult for us but it is not insurmountable."

Lennon praised Brown who continues to play with an on-going hip problem.

He said: "He gives the team real drive. There were moments in the second half when he saw the danger and covered the ground and made tremendous tackles and nipped counter-attacks in the bud very quickly and he is improving all the time.

"He has matured a lot and has blossomed into the captain that he is. He has played at this level before, there were 10 who haven't, and he sets an example. He recovered very well from the game at the weekend and finished the game tremendously strong which was surprising and we will see how he is over the next couple of days."


PA

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