Celtic boss Neil Lennon targets Cluj revenge but admits injury doubts for Europa League | Football | Sport


Celtic could be without several key players as they host Romanian champions Cluj for the second time in two months.

The Hoops slipped to a 5-4 aggregate defeat after losing 4-3 at Celtic Park in August, which ended their hopes of reaching the Champions League knockout stages.

Cluj went on to lose to Slavia Prague in the play-off round of the same competition, and were subsequently drawn to take on Celtic in the Europa League.

Amid the build-up, Neil Lennon has now revealed that Michael Johnston, Leigh Griffiths and Tom Rogic could miss out.

He said: ”We know it was a game that got away from us and there is always an opportunity in football maybe to right a wrong, if you want to put it that way.

“Maybe a little bit motivation for the players but the motivation is we have started the group well.

“We are at home and it is important to try reinforce the home advantage when you can. You can use it as motivation as long as the players don’t get too emotional.

“We are looking forward to the game. It is the first home game in the group stage and we are very excited about it.”

“We have good belief about ourselves now.

“There is decent cohesion and understanding and of course players have got a lot of match rhythm and game time and a familiarity with the way we play.

“In that respect we are in a better place now maybe than we were then.”

When asked about any injury doubts, the Northern Irishman said: ”Mikey [Johnston] has trained the last couple of days but may be a doubt to be in the squad.

”Nir [Bitton] should be okay. Leigh [Griffiths] isn’t up to speed yet either so he’ll miss out. We’re waiting to see how Tom [Rogic] is.”

Speaking on how his side will fare against the team that netted four in Glasgow just a few months ago, Lennon backed his side to put the defeat right.

He added: ”There is a new back four, more or less, a new goalkeeper and we have been on a good run since then, more or less won every game apart from the weekend.

“I have been delighted with the reaction and style of play and the motivation that the players have.

“Our first-half performance [against Cluj] wasn’t up to the usual standards so we need to address that.”


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