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Celtic boss Neil Lennon still hopeful of Champions League progress

Updated: Wednesday, 24 Oct 2012 12:03 | Comments

Celtic were undone by Barcelona in injury time at the Nou Camp
Celtic were undone by Barcelona in injury time at the Nou Camp

Celtic manager Neil Lennon insists his players still believe they can reach the knockout stages of the Champions League despite being denied a point at the Camp Nou by Barcelona left-back Jordi Alba's last-gasp winner.

Georgios Samaras' header from a Charlie Mulgrew free-kick in the 18th minute went in off the back of Javier Mascherano to give the visitors a shock lead, but a minute before the break Andres Iniesta levelled for the hosts.

Deep in injury time Alba broke Hoops' hearts when he sneaked in at the back post to knock an Adriano cross home from close range to secure a 2-1.

The Scottish champions remain second behind Barca in Group G with four points from three matches ahead of the return game against the Catalan giants in a fortnight, before facing Benfica away and Spartak Moscow at Parkhead.

Lennon said: "Of course we have the belief. They have performed well in the three games so far. There are three games to go and anything can happen.

"Barcelona were always heavy favourites (to win the group) and we felt it was a three-way fight for second place.

"We have to pick them up and go again, but I don't think they will need much picking up. They can take a lot of satisfaction from that game against Barcelona."

Lennon said the anger he felt as he sat in the post-match press conference was all to do with the "circumstances" of their defeat.

He said: "We just had to see out one more attack, but unfortunately it didn't go for us.

"On balance, Barcelona deserved to win the game - I understand that.

"But looking at the two teams beforehand people would have said it was a walkover and it was far from that."

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