NEIL LENNON has made the claim that getting to the Champions League group stage through the arduous qualification process is almost as good as landing a trophy.

Speaking to the Celtic website ahead of the game in Bosnia on Tuesday the full-time Celtic boss has been here before and knows what it takes. The pressure to succeed and get the club to the promise land is a task in itself and should never be overlooked.

“The experience that I’ve had will stand us in good stead, and as a core group, these players know what to expect. I think it’s harsh that we need to play four qualifiers but we have to accept that.

“It’s almost as good as winning a trophy, qualifying for the Champions League. This is the first step in hopefully achieving that. The game will sway to and fro and they’re going to be tight. We’ve no divine right to get into the Champions League, but from our perspective, it’d be massive for the club to qualify.”

Celtic will have to be vigilant with any of the opposition they face in the next two months when it comes to the qualifiers. The bhoys were put out of the competition by a lacklustre Athens side and dropped into the Europa League as a result last term.

The club knows how important that Euro money can be and to have another season without the riches that bring a run in the big competition does hit the books hard.

The last time Celtic failed two times in a row to qualify was under Ronny Deila, Brendan Rodgers qualified twice in a row then failed on his third and final season.

Celtic fans will be hoping this campaign could see the bhoys nick some surprising results in Neil Lennon can set his side up to be stubborn.


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