Lennon unconcerned over home comforts ahead of Spartak tie
Neil Lennon insists Celtic’s shock 1-1 fourth-round draw against Arbroath at Parkhead on Saturday will have no bearing on Wednesday night’s Champions League Group G decider against Spartak Moscow.
The SPL champions need to do better against the Russian club than Benfica do against Barcelona in the Camp Nou in order to secure a last-16 spot With the importance of that game in mind, Lennon made nine changes to his side – who found themselves ahead in the 35th minute in somewhat comical style when Stewart Malcolm hammered a clearance from the byline off the back of fellow Red Lichties defender Alex Keddie and into the net.
Celtic created and missed a barrowload of chances while also being foiled by Arbroath goalkeeper Scott Morrison, but with four minutes remaining Steven Doris shocked the home side when his deflected free-kick from 25 yards ended up behind stand-in goalkeeper Lukasz Zaluska to ensure Celtic visit Gayfield on Wednesday week.
“It will have absolutely no bearing on Wednesday whatsoever,” said Lennon. “It will be a different team out there, a different opposition, a different atmosphere and a different prize at the end of it so the players will be fully focused and I am hoping to get a different scoreline.
“You always feel that at 1-0 anything can happen and it did. We have missed a hatful of chances to see the game off but we are still in the competition.
“I wanted to use my squad today and I learned some things about some players. I learned that I can’t have a couple of people in the wall because they seem to want to jump out of the way.
“That annoyed me more than anything else, that’s where the deflection came from. If they stand their ground that doesn’t happen.”
Celtic’s last domestic home win was against St Johnstone on October 30th and Lennon, while relaxed about the result against Arbroath, wants to bring about an end to their recent poor home form.