Published Wednesday, 18 September 2013
The Hoops were defeated by two late goals from AC Milan on Wednesday. (© Getty)
The home side were struggling against Celtic and in need of some inspiration as the game entered the final stages on Wednesday.
However, they got a huge slice of luck when defender Cristian Zapata's drive in the 82nd minute appeared to be heading wide before it deflected off Parkhead left-back Emilio Izaguirre and ended up behind Fraser Forster.
The Hoops goalkeeper was beaten again four minutes later despite making a great save from Mario Balotelli's free-kick, as midfielder Sulley Muntari knocked in the rebound.
Much was made of AC Milan head coach Massimiliano Allegri's lengthy injury-list which included the absence of Kaka and captain Riccardo Montolivo as the home side looked disjointed for most of the match.
We had really good chances tonight and that will be one regret going away from here. I think the scoreline flattered Milan, I don't think there was two goals between the teams.
Forster had to make several saves early on and one near the end of the first-half, but in between, the visitors enjoyed more than their fair share of possession.
There was a confidence in the way the Scottish champions kept the ball albeit it without threatening Milan keeper Christian Abbiati too much.
After the break Muntari missed a great chance while Hoops' in-form striker Anthony Stokes hit the top of the bar with a free-kick.
The two late goals, though, will be a dampener for Celtic who take on Barcelona in their next group fixture at Parkhead at the start of October with Ajax also waiting in the wings.
Reacting, the Northern Irish Hoops boss said: "I am bitterly disappointed because for long periods of the game we were the better team.
"To come away from the San Siro, not to have picked up a point or three points, is a mark of how well we have developed and how well we played tonight.
"We have Barcelona next and they are a different animal. But we are here to qualify and nothing changes my view after that performance."
Lennon added: "You have to take the chances when you are on top but unfortunately we didn't get the break of the ball and they did with the deflection with the first goal.
"There was no failures. We didn't hang on, there wasn't wave after wave of attacks, we took the game to Milan and we surprised a lot of people tonight.
"I thought we were the better team playing the better football."
Meanwhile Jose Mourinho's Chelsea were beaten 2-1 by Basle at Stamford Bridge.
© UTV News