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Neil Lennon happy to make plans for Euro assault

By Ronnie Esplin

Neil Lennon insists Celtic will continue with their preparations to play Atletico Madrid in their opening Europa League group fixture next Thursday, but admits he can see Sion's point in appealing their controversial expulsion.

Celtic were beaten 3-1 on aggregate by the Swiss club in the play-offs but were reinstated by UEFA, who deemed five of Sion's players to be ineligible due to a signing ban imposed on the club by FIFA.

Sion's appeal will be heard next Tuesday, the day before the Hoops plan to fly to Spain, but that may not be the end of the issue.

The Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport would be able to overturn UEFA's decision and Sion's outspoken president, Christian Constantin, has vowed to take on the governing body in the civil courts, although his first attempt failed on Thursday.

The Celtic boss, who revealed a new deal in principle had been agreed with skipper Scott Brown, with midfielder Beram Kayal "not far away" from extending his current contract either, said: "We are making plans for participating on Thursday as if we are in the tournament and we will see what the outcome is on Tuesday.

"I can understand where Sion are coming from but we have been told we are in the competition and until told otherwise we will carry on regardless.

"We always felt that they would appeal again and if they have a right to do that then so be it.

"But we are preparing as if we have three games this week; Motherwell tomorrow, Atletico and Rangers next weekend.

"The players are preparing for the Motherwell game, which is important for us, and we will prepare for the Atletico game after that."

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