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Celtic manager Neil Lennon savours 'huge result'

Updated: Thursday, 08 Aug 2013 07:45 | Comments

Neil Lennon's side are through to the Champions League play-off
Neil Lennon's side are through to the Champions League play-off

Celtic manager Neil Lennon admitted to feeling nervous after watching his side secure their place in the Champions League play-off draw last night.

The Hoops took a 1-0 lead into the second leg of their third qualifying round clash with Elfsborg and that proved enough as a goalless draw on the night saw them through.

And, while Lennon was pleased with the performance of his men, he admitted there were some concerns over taking such a slim lead to Sweden.

He said: "It was a huge result. It is nerve-wracking at this time. I was nervous all day.

"It was a tough night. We showed great character. It was a tough game and you have to give credit to Elfsborg - they gave it everything."

He continued: "We will wait to see what the draw brings. It is a step in the right direction. I am really pleased. It was a tough, tough night."

Celtic started the brighter and Georgios Samaras could have doubled their aggregate lead with an unmarked header in the 12th minute but Lennon was content just to see his side advance.

"I felt we should have had the tie wrapped up after 20 minutes. You would expect him (Samaras) to score or get it on target anyway and then their goalkeeper has made a fantastic save from Joe Ledley," he added.

"We only needed the one goal to burst the enthusiasm of Elfsborg.

"We became a bit scrappy but with a bit more quality we might have picked them off near the end.

"My back four were wonderful and we restricted Elfsborg to minimal chances."

One member of that back four was Kelvin Wilson, and Lennon acknowledged that he may have played his last game for the club last night.

The centre-back has long been linked with a return to previous club Nottingham Forest and Lennon revealed the deal is likely to be completed in the coming days.

"I would say it was Kelvin's last game for us. I don't think it (the deal) is far away," the Northern Irishman said.

"I would say he would be away over the next couple of days.

"If it is then he could go away with his head held high. I thought he was fantastic tonight for us and he will be a huge miss.

"We chatted to him beforehand - he was in the right frame of mind and didn't want to let the team down and he certainly didn't. I thought he was awesome.

"We are going to work hard to get a few players in. The players are running on empty.

"These qualifiers are tough and we have two games to go before the group stages."

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