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Celtic manager Neil Lennon to start teenagers Tony Watt and Filip Twardzik against Helsingborg

Updated: Wednesday, 29 Aug 2012 20:39 | Comments

Neil Lennon will take a gamble on Tony Watt and Filip Twardzik
Neil Lennon will take a gamble on Tony Watt and Filip Twardzik

Watch Celtic v Helsingborg live on RTÉ Two and online (RoI only) from 7.30pm.

Neil Lennon will have no qualms about playing teenage duo Tony Watt and Filip Twardzik in tonight's crunch Champions League play-off clash against Helsingborg at Parkhead.

The Hoops are 2-0 up from the first leg in Sweden and favourites to go through to the group stages for the first time since season 2008/09.

However, the Celtic boss has doubts over defender Thomas Rogne (ankle), skipper Scott Brown (groin), striker Georgios Samaras (thigh) and midfielder Kris Commons (ankle) who all missed Saturday's 4-2 Clydesdale Bank Premier League win at Inverness, in which 18-year-old Watt scored a double with Twardzik, 19, playing his part in midfield.

Lennon will confidently call on the teenagers again if required.

The Northern Irishman said: "I would have no hesitation at all involving Tony. He is part of the squad now.

"He is coming along very nicely. Against Inverness he showed me a lot of aspects to his game I didn't think he had in terms of his technique, his control of the ball and his composure in front of goal.

"That gave me a lot to think about it and it pleased me a lot.

"Filip, we have known about for a while. He had a very good pre-season and we knew he was ready to take the step.

"It was curtailed in the last couple of weeks with injury but once he was fit again we knew we would be using him and I was delighted with his contribution as well."

Lennon tried to dampen down expectations but admits sensing an expectancy from the Hoops supporters ahead of tonight's game.

"I think there is a certain excitement among the fans," said the former Celtic skipper.

"It has been four years since we played in the Champions League and from my own experience they are fantastic evenings, particularly at home.

"It is probably the best competition in football and it would be great to be part of that again but we still have a job to do."

Helsingborg coach Age Hareide urged his players to make the most of an opportunity that might not come along again soon.

"This is an opportunity of a lifetime," he said.

"It is like being in a cup final.

"In football you get occasions, and tonight you get 90 minutes of your life to play in the play-off for the Champions League.

"Many players would cut off one of their hands to do that.

"It is 12 years since the last time Helsingborg were there and some of these players will never have another chance."

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