Celtic manager Neil Lennon expecting a tough test against Cluj
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 06/08/19 9:26pm
Celtic manager Neil Lennon has dismissed claims from Cluj that it would take a "miracle" for the Romanian champions to knock Celtic out of the Champions League.
Cluj, who are managed by former Chelsea player Dan Petrescu, claimed his side would be at a major financial disadvantage when they come up against Celtic in the third qualifying round.
Petrescu believes his side upset the odds against Astana and Maccabi Tel Aviv in the opening two rounds and will need to punch above their financial weight again.
However, Lennon told the media in Romania: "I don't really buy into Dan's comments that it would be a miracle.
"I don't know the budgets of both teams, but I do know it will be competitive."
Lennon, who has seen right-back Hatem Abd Elhamed shake off the dead leg he suffered in Saturday's 7-0 thrashing of St Johnstone, added: "We have got a bit of momentum, we had a great result at the weekend.
"All that will give us is a bit of impetus going into the weekend. It will have no real relevance on Wednesday night, but psychologically it's good for the players to have a win and a performance like that going into such an important
"This is a totally different animal. This is Europe, away from home, against the Romanian champions. We are very motivated, obviously, but we are very wary and respectful of the opposition.
"We come here in good form, Cluj are in good form, so I think the tie is pretty even."
Petrescu has had success against Scottish opposition before, guiding Unirea Urziceni to a 4-1 Champions League win over Rangers at Ibrox in 2009 after outfoxing Walter Smith.
The 51-year-old has since managed in Russia, Qatar, China and the United Arab Emirates.
Lennon said: "He's had a very varied career as a coach. I remember him when he was a player in the Premier League, I played against him when he was at Chelsea and Sheffield Wednesday, a very intelligent player and he's a very experienced coach. So we are very respectful of Dan."
"They cross the ball early, I think they will be a threat at set plays as well," Lennon said. "We have to be mentally strong and have good concentration."