Lennon celebrates European progress

PA Sport
Neil Lennon enjoyed the 'best' night of his career on Wednesday
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Neil Lennon enjoyed the 'best' night of his career on Wednesday

Neil Lennon claimed he had "been to hell and back" before the "best" night of his managerial career in guiding Celtic past Helsingborg and into the group stages of the Champions League.

Lennon's men took a 2-0 lead into the second leg of their play-off against the Swedish side and Gary Hooper's close-range strike on the half-hour mark effectively ended the contest before Victor Wanyama grabbed the second two minutes from time.

Asked how he would describe the result with regards his managerial career, the Hoops boss said: "It is the best. I have been to hell and back in the last seven weeks trying to get this right."

He went on: "There is a fear factor and I lived with that. I am thinking of the ramifications if we don't go through, what it would mean for me personally, how I would get through it and how I would get over it.

"That was part of the build-up. Everyone had us in the Champions League but in the back of your mind there is always that worry, that fear.

"We have overcome that and dealt with the two qualifiers very well

"It is a great night for me personally and a great night for the players. It is not often I pat myself on the back but I am going to tonight.

"It is one of the hardest challenges I have ever had in my life and the pressure going into this game was huge. I have never experienced that in my playing days and I am so happy

"It is a minor miracle we qualified. The squad is so thin but we have a good core of players and I am very proud of them."

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