'Don't underestimate Celtic' - Lennon

'Don't underestimate Celtic' - Lennon

Celtic face Juventus in the last 16 of the Champions League later, and manager Neil Lennon has warned against the dangers of underestimating his side.

The Hoops finished runners up to Barcelona in their qualification group to earn a place in the knockout stages of Europe's top club competition for the first time in five years.

They even managed a famous 2-1 victory over the Spanish stars at Celtic Park in November.

But despite a string of impressive results, Lurgan-born boss Lennon feels his team have been viewed as underdogs.

He's keen to prove the doubters wrong.

"There is a real belief that anything can happen over two games," he said, ahead Tuesday night's first leg against the Serie A champions in Glasgow.

I think we have been (underestimated) throughout the whole campaign and going into this game we are being made out to be massive underdogs but I don't quite see it that way myself

Neil Lennon

"We go into the tie as underdogs but nothing is going to be decided at the end of 90 minutes, it is over two games and we are prepared to play hard football over 180 minutes."

Lennon recognised the quality of Juventus, who topped a strong group containing Shakhtar Donetsk and holders Chelsea.

He continued: "They have excellent strikers - Mirko Vucinic, Fabio Quagliarella, Sebastian Giovinco, and they have also brought in Nicolas Anelka. But the one who has caught my eye is Alessandro Matri, he looks an excellent young player.

"They are very strong in midfield. Arturo Vidal is playing very well currently, Paul Pogba and Claudio Marchisio, these are class players including Andrea Pirlo who is still one of the finest midfield players in the world.

"So the team is blessed with fantastic footballers but we knew that before the tie or before any preparation were made. But it would be dangerous to underestimate Celtic.

"We have proved already this season that we can be a match for anyone."

The Northern Irishman, who took charge of the club in 2010, added that he expects another momentous European night.

"This will be one of my best achievements, to bring these nights back to Celtic Park," he said.

"It is the only show around, a European night at Celtic Park. It will be a fantastic football arena, for me one of the best atmospheres in world football, never mind European football and it is for our supporters."

The game, which kicks off at 7.45pm, will be shown live on UTV.


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