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Lennon: Celtic fans will 'relish' Champions League challenge

Updated: Friday, 31 Aug 2012 07:29 | Comments

Celtic will welcome Barcelona to Parkhead on 7 November
Celtic will welcome Barcelona to Parkhead on 7 November

Neil Lennon believes Celtic fans will simply relish their Champions League Group G campaign in which they will face Barcelona, Benfica and Spartak Moscow.

The Parkhead men are in the group stages for the first time since the 2008/09 season following a 2-0 home win over Swedish side Helsingborg on Wednesday night which made the scoreline 4-0 on aggregate.

The Scottish champions played all three opponents at various stages of the tournament in 2007/08.

However, the Celtic manager does not believe the Hoops supporters will expect too much from his side this time after battling through two qualifying rounds.

"All the pressure was on the previous two rounds," said Lennon.

"Now our supporters will take the view that it is great to be back and go and enjoy it and see where it takes us.

"This is where we want to be. It is what we worked so hard for. We are in it, it is fantastic to be here and we are going to make the most of it and enjoy it."

He added: "I think Barcelona are favourites or joint favourites (to win the tournament).

"How do you play against them? Well you can watch them as much as you like but they currently have some of the best individuals of all time.

"I think Benfica will be strong, I think Moscow will be strong, they have got financial clout behind them but anything can happen in the group stages, particularly if we can start the group well and maximise the home advantage."

Celtic open their campaign with a home game against Benfica on 19 September, followed by a trip to Russia for the 2 October meeting with Spartak.

On 23 October the Hoops are away to Barcelona before welcoming the Catalans to Glasgow on 7 November.

Matchday five on 20 November sees Celtic take on Benfica in Lisbon before finishing the campaign on 5 December with a home game against Spartak.

The Parkhead club announced that adult prices for the three-match packages will be £84, with concessions costing £60, a reduction on the 2008/09 prices of £93 and £72 respectively.

Non-season ticket holders will be able to buy similar packages at £105 and £75 for adult and concession respectively, again reflecting a drop from the 2008/09 prices of £114 and £99.

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