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Lennon challenges his Bhoys to make history and land their first win on Italian soil

Tough task: Neil Lennon
Tough task: Neil Lennon

By Ronnie Esplin

Neil Lennon wants Celtic to end an unwanted record when they take on Lazio in Rome tonight.

The Hoops have not won in 12 trips to Italy ahead of their Europa League clash at the Stadio Olimpico.

The Scottish champions beat Lazio 2-1 at Parkhead last month and now Lennon is keen to win on Italian soil.

The Lurgan man said: "Realistically it is going to be very difficult to win here. Records are there to be broken.

"We are going to have to play very well and take our chances if and when they should arise.

"We know we probably won't dominate possession the way we would do normally in home games and we are going to have to show a huge amount of concentration and quality.

"In the context of the group it is such an important game. And there is so much quality on show in both teams.

"It is my first time in Rome taking a team so it is a game we are very excited about and very motivated for."

Asked if the win against Lazio had given him confidence for the return match, the former Celtic midfielder said: "It was a classic game. Both teams played really well.

"We were winners on the night but we know how difficult the game is going to be.

"Lazio's form of late has been really good. They had another great victory in the San Siro (against AC Milan) on Sunday so we are under no illusions how big the job is, to come here and try to get a result. But the players are also on great form, they have played very well domestically and obviously currently top the (Europa League) group.

"We know that can change very quickly, but we are here to try to get a positive result and there is good belief amongst us to do that."

Lennon expressed his delight that midfielder Callum McGregor's new five-year deal was confirmed before the journey from Glasgow.

He said: "He has been absolutely sensational over the last three or four seasons in terms of consistency, level of performance, game intelligence and his robustness.

"I think last season he played 69 games and you can count on one hand the poor performances.

"In my second spell here he has been absolutely wonderful as a Celtic player."

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