Neil Lennon insists Celtic are 'fine' and dismisses criticism as 'hysteria'
By Calum Wilson
Last Updated: 21/08/19 4:29pm
Neil Lennon launched a bullish defence of his under-fire Celtic side and dismissed criticism as "a little bit of hysteria".
Celtic have been in the spotlight after being knocked out of the Champions League by Romanian side Cluj last week before needing an extra-time winner to get past Scottish Championship side Dunfermline and reach the Betfred Cup quarter-finals.
Speaking ahead of Thursday's opening Europa League tie against AIK Stockholm, Lennon said: "It's not me that is creating the headlines or shouting out the criticism.
"I'm very supportive of the players and was after Cluj and Dunfermline. We've lost one game - I didn't believe we deserved to and that's the harsh realities of the game.
"We're fine. We're absolutely fine. It's like everyone out there is head down. We're not. We're bullish and looking forward to the games.
"There has to be a sense of perspective. I can't control that but there has been a little bit of hysteria at times. That is the environment you're in in Glasgow sometimes.
"We've lost one game and scored three goals in it, so it's not all doom and gloom.
"We have to be bullish about things and look forward. It's a big disappointment to be out of the Champions League but the Europa League is a very good competition that hopefully we can prosper in."
Celtic have made the group stage of the Champions League or the Europa League every season since 2011 and Lennon believes it is vital his side maintain that record.
He said: "Obviously the players want to show they have some European pedigree.
"We have the makings of a very good team and I hope that manifests itself.
"It's important we get through. It gives us a gravitas, opens the season up and gives us European football to look forward to towards Christmas, so it's an important couple of games."