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Neil Lennon ecstatic after Celtic beat Lazio

The Hoops left it late at Parkhead.

Neil Lennon was delighted with Celtic’s win (Steve Welsh/PA)
Neil Lennon was delighted with Celtic’s win (Steve Welsh/PA)

By Ronnie Esplin, PA

Neil Lennon described Celtic’s dramatic 2-1 Europa League win over Lazio at Parkhead as an “epic night for the players and the club”.

Manuel Lazzari fired the Italian side ahead in the 39th minute but the Scottish champions levelled through midfielder Ryan Christie.

And with a minute of normal time remaining Christopher Jullien rose to bullet in a Christie corner to take the Hoops on to seven points and remain at the top of Group E ahead of the return game in Rome in two weeks’ time.

Lennon said: “Lazio were superb. They had periods in the game where they were the better team.

“I thought we started the game well but then the psychology of the game changed when Lazio scored and they got the upper hand.

“We needed to get more support up to (Odsonne) Edouard and thankfully that worked.

“At times against quality sides, you need your goalkeeper to play well and Fraser (Forster) pulled off two outstanding saves.

“Then the players dug out more energy and got their chances. It’s been an epic night for the players and the club.

“I thought my captain (Scott Brown) was outstanding, absolutely brilliant. There were some great individual performances.

“You can see it’s a bit of a learning curve as well for some of the players. There is some naivety at times in our play.

“But over the piece, to go toe-to-toe with Lazio and come away with three points is a huge shot in the arm for the team.”

Lennon insists his side will travel to Rome with confidence.

He said: “It’s a great position to be in. It’s so important to win your home games.

“Lazio came to really play. For us to get on the positive side of that result is fantastic.

“Yes, we have seven points but there is still a lot of work to be done in the group to make sure we qualify.

“The team is still a work in progress, for where we would like to take it.

“It’s a very proud night for everyone associated with the club. We look forward to the match in Rome now but we know how difficult it will be in Rome on the evidence of what we have seen tonight.”

Lazio boss Simone Inzaghi believes two Fraser Forster second-half saves from skipper Marco Parolo and substitute Danilo Cataldi, as well as a miss from Ciro Immobile, were vital.

He said: “We didn’t deserve to lose the game, we had more than enough chances to win the game and if it wasn’t for an incredible save by the keeper we would have.

“We have seen games like this before when we didn’t put it out of sight.

“We needed that second goal, if it hadn’t been for two miracle saves and Immobile’s miss we would have got it. We only have three points which makes the next two games very important.”

PA

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