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Neil Lennon's agony as Celtic exit Champions League

Celtic manager Neil Lennon was left clinging to crumbs of comfort last night as his side’s Champions League campaign ended with a whimper.

Parkhead has been a fortress in Europe with big guns like Barcelona, Valencia, Juventus, Manchester United, Benfica, FC Porto and AC Milan all shot down but Sporting Braga silenced the Hoops fans.

First Celtic goals for Gary Hooper and Efrain Juarez earned Lennon's men a 2-1 win but the SPL giants have stumbled into the Europa League play-offs.

Paulo Cesar's first-half away goal sealed Celtic’s fate and while the Portuguese side basked in the glory of a 4-2 aggregate win, Lennon will reflect on where it went wrong.

However, the former Northern Ireland international will be judged on Celtic’s domestic campaign and he is looking to strengthen his panel with moves under way to bring Manchester City winger Craig Bellamy back to Glasgow.

When asked whether the club were in a position to pull off that transfer, he replied: “I would hope so but I don't know. It's still up in the air.”

Lennon added: “Overall I'm delighted with the performance and intensity and all the things you ask for — commitment and passion. But we keep conceding soft goals. I'm learning from it and hopefully the players are learning.”

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