Celtic’s Europa League group stage draw has opened up plenty of talking points. The Hoops will face Lazio, Rennes and Cluj in the tournament.

The main story, of course, is the return of Cluj to Celtic Park. Cluj knocked the Hoops out of the Champions League earlier this season.

Lazio will be the glamorous tie, it will be the Hoops’ first time playing them. Celtic already know about Rennes, the teams drew in a pre-season friendly in July.

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However, playing Rennes in the group stages may bring back some good memories for current Hoops boss Neil Lennon.

Victory came at good time for Hoops

(Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

He led the Hoops to a memorable 3-1 victory over Rennes in the Europa League group stages back in 2011. The victory came at a good time for the Hoops, as they were trailing Rangers for the title.

Celtic had already drawn 1-1 with Rennes in France, so there was some optimism about getting a result on the night.

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The game started badly for the Bhoys though. Rennes took the lead after only two minutes with a Kader Mangane goal.

It was an unsung hero who turned the game on its head. Anthony Stokes equalised for the Hoops before half-time. He then gave Celtic the lead in the second-half.

Team took plenty of confidence from win

(GRAHAM STUART/AFP/Getty Images)

The victory was completed when Gary Hooper found the back of the net later on. The Hoops might not have managed to make it out of the group stages that season. However, the win did give the team plenty of confidence.

The Hoops went on a lengthy unbeaten run, took over from Rangers as league leaders and won their first league title in four years.

Celtic are in a different world compared to back then. The match took place before the Hoops had won the first of eight titles in a row.

However, a similar performance and victory would be most welcome. If it inspires the Hoops to go on an unbeaten run, even better.

 

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