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Lenny happy with Celts' pre-season


Job done: Neil Lennon feels Celtic have prepared well
Job done: Neil Lennon feels Celtic have prepared well

By Robert Jones

Neil Lennon declared himself pleased with Celtic's pre-season training camp as he turned his attention to their first Champions League qualifier.

The Hoops concluded their 10-day trip to Austria and Switzerland with a goalless draw with St Gallen on Tuesday night, leaving them unbeaten in three pre-season friendlies.

The Parkhead squad travel back to Glasgow yesterday to start focusing on the first leg of the Champions League first-round qualifier against FK Sarajevo in Bosnia next week.

Lennon was happy with what his squad and staff showed him during the time away, even if the hamstring injury picked up by Vakoun Issouf Bayo is a concern.

"It's been a very successful trip," the Celtic boss said.

"We've got a lot of good work in over the last 10 days and we're pretty much injury-free, although we'll need to check out how Bayo's going to be after the second game.

"I'm really pleased with the condition the boys are in and I've been really pleased with the performances as well.

"I've got nothing but positive things to say about the attitude of the players and the backroom staff.

"Everyone involved in this trip has worked very hard.

"Even last night with the boys who played 90 minutes, they had to work really, really hard towards the end with us being down to 10 men (Jozo Simunovic was sent off).

"The preparation we've done is the best we could have hoped for.

"In terms of fitness levels in a short space of time, I think they look good.

"We'll see how they settle now once we come back to Glasgow and get some more technical work into them.

"This week's going to be important, but it will be good because they've had a couple of games now and are more up to speed with my side of things."

Rapid Vienna have revealed Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo has left their training camp as a move to Celtic appeared to draw closer.

Speaking after last night's 0-0 friendly draw with St Gallen in Switzerland, Hoops boss Neil Lennon claimed a reported £3m deal for the 24-year-old Belgian left-back was imminent.

"We are not too far away and he will be another good addition to the squad," the Lurgan man said after the pre-season stalemate.

"He gives us competition at left-back, he's strong, athletic and good on the ball."

On Wednesday morning, Rapid Vienna's official Twitter account confirmed the defender had departed the training base: "Today no longer in Bad Zell is Boli #Bolingoli - our number 5 received permission to leave the training camp yesterday."

Bolingoli-Mbombo would be Lennon's third summer signing after Christopher Jullien and Luca Connell.

Celtic begin their Champions League qualifying campaign in the first round against FK Sarajevo, with the first leg in Bosnia next Tuesday evening.

Belfast Telegraph

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