Football

Lennon accepts heavy scrutiny

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Neil Lennon admits his credibility as Celtic manager is on the line in the Europa League play-off second-leg tie against Sion in Switzerland.

After a goalless draw at home in the first leg against the Swiss side last Thursday night, Celtic suffered a shock 1-0 Clydesdale Bank Premier League defeat to St Johnstone at Parkhead on Sunday where the fans booed the players off the park at the end.

Celtic have won only one of their last 29 games on the road in Europe and Lennon knows they will need at least a score draw and told the Daily Record: "There is a credibility issue where I'm concerned because European nights are an essential part of our club and our history."

He added: "It's only human nature for the crowd to react badly when results don't go our way. There's only one way to put that right and that's to score here in Switzerland.

"Comparisons are always made between previous managers and what they did in European competition and the next one in line.

"I happen to be the next one in line. It's early days in my managerial career but I have to accept that's what goes on.

"Heavy scrutiny of a Celtic manager is something that never changes and it would give me as much satisfaction as any European tie I won as a Celtic player if we could go through against Sion and move in to the group stages of the Europa League.

"European football would enhance our players' game and I don't want to go out of another competition before it's officially started."

Anthony Stokes is bullishly confident Celtic can get back on track.

"It seems people are writing us off but we're confident," said the Hoops striker. "We're well in the tie. We know we can compete and that we have the players within the squad to do so."

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Topics:
Europa League
Football
Anthony Stokes
Premier League
Neil Lennon
Queens Park Rangers
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