Neil Lennon hails Celtic after famous win over Barcelona


Elated manager Neil Lennon highlighted the chasm in resources between Celtic and Barcelona after his team stunned the Spaniards in the Champions League.
Victor Wanyama, 21, and substitute Tony Watt put Celtic two up in Glasgow before Lionel Messi made it 2-1.
“[Barca boss] Tito Vilanova can bring on David Villa and Cesc Fabregas and I bring on an 18-year-old kid who cost £50,000 from Airdrie,” said Lennon. “I think it is one of the greatest nights in the club’s recent history.”
Celtic Park rocked as Kenyan Wanyama headed Charlie Mulgrew’s corner past Victor Valdes after 21 minutes. And despite waves of attacks by the Catalans, they could find no way through an organised and determined Celtic defence, with home goalkeeper Fraser Forster in supreme form.
With seven minutes remaining, Xavi failed to control Forster’s long kick and striker Watt pounced on the ball, raced towards the goal and hammered it low into the net to stun the visitors.
Messi’s close-range strike in injury time could not ruin what Lennon described as a “very poignant” result on the club’s 125th anniversary.
“The players are the heroes,” he said after the match, which leaves Celtic two points behind leaders Barcelona in Champions League Group G and three points clear of third-placed Benfica.
“I can’t speak highly enough of their performances tonight and they will go down in the history books of the club as the team that beat probably the best team in the world.” While wanting his players to “enjoy the moment and take it all in”, Lennon said the win merely improved his team’s chances of progressing to the last 16 in the tournament.
“It’s given us a greater chance than we expected before the game. We still have two very difficult games,” said Lennon, whose team next go to Lisbon to face Benfica. The manager then praised Watt for showing great composure to slot home Celtic’s second.
He said: “It is a phenomenal thing he has done so early in his career. “I said before the game I had no hesitation in playing him but we felt his lack of experience would have been a bit too much to put him in the starting line-up. “But he came on and he did everything we asked him to do. He scored a brilliant goal and I felt he should have had a penalty when he got the other side of Javier Mascherano. “The kid is learning and he has written himself into the history books of the club. “He’s 11 games into his career. I hope he has a fruitful career but it will take some topping what he has done tonight.” Describing Celtic Park as “one of the greatest arenas in European football”, Lennon praised the fans for the atmosphere they generated and gave a glimpse of how he had spotted a flaw in their famous opponents’ armour. “We did feel they were vulnerable from corners, at the back post,” he said.
“I felt Wanyama or [Mikael] Lustig could affect that. The delivery is so important. Charlie Mulgrew is one of the best dead-ball takers in British football.”
Messi blames defeat on poor finishing
Victor Wanyama and Tony Watt helped Celtic record the famous victory a day after their 125th anniversary at Parkhead despite being overwhelmed by Barcelona, who recorded a whopping 89% in the match. Messi’s injury time strike was not enough to rescue Barcelona and the Argentine felt that an unfortunate combination of missed chances, the woodwork and another inspired performance from goalkeeper Fraser Forster cost his side the game. “We did everything well, played better than two weeks ago against them, but the ball didn’t go in,” he said after the match. “The same thing happened at the Camp Nou. They played defensively and they waited to make fast counterattacks. They are very comfortable on corners and set-pieces, and that’s how they scored their two goals.” Messi celebrated the consolation goal with a thumb-sucking gesture as a tribute to his new-born son Thiago and he hopes that there will be more opportunities for that celebration. “In the end, the goal didn’t mean anything, the game was already lost. There are enough games left to dedicate goals to Thiago,” he added. Barcelona now lead the group with nine points but will need to win their next match against Spartak Moscow to guarantee qualification while Celtic are second with seven points.


  1. One of Barca's major issues which everyone seem to ignore is the goalkeeper . Valdez used to be great with puyol and Peque in front but he completely failed the test when they were gone . He lacks confident when approaching the ball and makes a big mistake when approaching the attacker . he constantly stop half way which gives the attack the opportunity to shoot and by doing so he is reducing his reaction time which is extremely important for the goal keeper . So every shot is a goal unless the attacker hit Valdez by mistake . This is becoming a trend and the attackers are exploiting it very well .
    secondly he deos not deal with corners and set pieces period and freezes , leaving the task for the defenders . Barca have no tall defenders at the moment thus the corners and the set pieces are a major danger for barca due to lack of action from Valdez .

    Replace Valdez with anyone and Barca is fine the way it is .

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