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A Scottish club can make it to a Euro showpiece again: Lennon

 

Great stuff: Neil Lennon is thrilled with Celtic’s Euro run
Great stuff: Neil Lennon is thrilled with Celtic’s Euro run

By Gavin McCafferty

Celtic manager Neil Lennon sees no reason why a Scottish team cannot reach a European final again.

But Lennon refused to make any bold statement about his team's ambitions this season after they were paired with FC Copenhagen in the last-32 of the Europa League.

Lennon played in the 2003 Uefa Cup final when Celtic lost to Porto, five years before Rangers emulated their progress.

The richest leagues in Europe have since grown even further away from Scotland and many other nations in terms of finances but Lennon believes his club should be striving for the top.

When asked whether a Scottish team could make it to a final again, he said: "Yes, no doubt about it. Why not? We had great success in the last decade, 2003 and 2008, so I think these things can come round again. I'm hoping it will be us one day."

Lennon, whose side topped their group with a game to spare, added: "We all wanted the Champions League but we have made the most of the Europa League so far. Looking at the squad at the start of this campaign, I felt we could do a little bit of damage.

"We have done that but there is still a long way to go and a lot of big games ahead. But I am absolutely thrilled with how we negotiated the group."

Cluj counterpart Dan Petrescu tipped Celtic as potential winners of the tournament, but Lennon said: "It's too early for that. I would like to make inroads, it's important for player development, it's important for the club, and it's important for me to develop as a coach as well.

"Europe is always a huge arena to play in. We will try and do our best. Can we get to the quarters and take it from there? That's when you really start to get excited but it's too early to say about getting to finals.

"You see the calibre of teams who are still in, a lot of big clubs will have their eyes on us.

"We don't play until February 20, it's a lifetime in football. So we will see how we are looking, and may look to bring another couple of players in."

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