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
Arsenal and Puma unveil world's first left-footed football
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?
Liverpool's best XI of the season so far: Raheem Sterling should play in the front three while Steven Gerrard remains on the bench
WWE Raw results: Brock Lesnar suspended for post-Wrestlemania 31 rampage after losing title to Seth Rollins
Ryan Mason tattoo: Tottenham and England midfielder trolled by Twitter user who compares him to 12-year-old boy
- 1 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 2 Martha Stewart accuses Snoop Dogg of 'smoking for four hours' during Justin Bieber Roast
- 3 I might be an MP, but that doesn't stop me fighting sexism with my breasts
- 4 Google April Fools': company unveils backwards search engine and huggable digital assistant
- 5 April Fools' Day 2015: The best hoax news stories from around the internet
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans