Neil Lennon wants Celtic to be shown more respect after matching Benfica
Celtic 0 Benfica 0
Thursday 20 September 2012
Neil Lennon hopes Celtic gained “a bit more respect” throughout Europe after drawing 0-0 with Benfica in their Champions League Group G opener at Parkhead.
Only captain Scott Brown had Champions League experience with the home side but it was a spirited and determined performance from the Scottish champions although over the course of 90 hard-fought minutes they failed to really trouble the visitors' goal.
The Celtic manager, though, noted that key players such as Georgios Samaras, Joe Ledley, Beram Kayal and Anthony Stokes were all still making their way back from injury and Gary Hooper was unable to start the match after picking up a knock at St Johnstone.
"I hope that we gained a little bit more respect tonight from the footballing world," said Lennon. "I think Benfica went into the game heavy favourites but I don't think you could call the game tonight. I think a draw was probably a fair result.
"It shows that we have a bit of depth to the squad and can compete at this level. We didn't work their keeper as much as we would have liked but, saying that, I was very pleased with the team performance tonight. It was a very good tempo, a good shape to us, we were committed and played with real zest and no fear against a class side.
"It was a decent start for us, it could have been better, it could have been worse. I think they will probably be the happier going away, I don't think there was anything really between the teams. There were 10 guys out there making their Champions League debut against a very experienced Champions League side so I am very proud of them."
Celtic play Spartak Moscow away from home in their next fixture and Lennon said: "You would like to win your home games, it makes things a little difficult for us but it is not insurmountable."
The Benfica manager, Jorge Jesus, did not concur with Lennon's assessment of the match. "We deserved victory," he said. "I have said before that Benfica, Celtic and Spartak will fight hard but they [Celtic] did not take advantage tonight."
Celtic Forster; Matthews, Wilson, Mulgrew, Lustig (Rogne 63); Commons, Wanyama, Brown, Izaguirre (Hooper 66); Forrest, Fedor.
Benfica Artur; Almeida, Garay, Jardel, Melgarejo; Matic, Aimar (Cardozo 63), Perez; Gaitan (Nolito 83), Salvio, Rodrigo (Cesar 70).
Referee N Rizzoli (Italy).
Latest in Sport
Pornhub: Cheeky Liverpool fan uploads Philippe Coutinho wonder-goal video to adult website
Ireland 19 England 9 player ratings: Jonathan Sexton? Devin Toner? Alex Goode? Who was the star man in Dublin?
Eden Hazard didn't like the champagne on offer in the Chelsea dressing room
Why Manchester City could turn to Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers if Manuel Pellegrini is dismissed
Arsene Wenger on Francis Coquelin: 'You don't have all the qualities but you have to express what you're good at'
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Ed Miliband less influential than One Direction's Louis Tomlinson by official Doncaster power list
- 3 Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
- 4 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'