Neil Lennon deserves more credit for Celtic's European away form
There’s plenty to moan about with regards to the performances in Riga and Sarajevo, but it’s important that Neil Lennon gets credit where its due.
Indeed, Celtic were sloppy in Riga last week but still managed to progress to the Europa League playoff round in Sarajevo with a 1-0 win. Tonight, the Hoops managed to seal another one-goal victory in Bosnia to book our place in the group stages.
We all went into these games looking at Celtic as the favourites, but the fact we were away from home in both would also have had some uneasy. After all, we’re often all over the place away from Parkhead, aren’t we?
Well, in actual fact, no we aren’t. In terms of away-day success, Lennon has managed to sort that long-term Parkhead puzzle. Celtic are no longer lambs to the slaughter when they whip out their passports and head for continental Europe. Lennon has managed to instill an incredible winning mentality within that’s seen them reap rewards on the road.
Since Lennon arrived back in February 2019, Celtic have now faced 10 matches away from home in Europe. Naturally, you would imagine that the Hoops would lose most of them.
Lennon’s cracked the away-day code
Nope, Lennon has only managed to see defeat on one occasion. Our 2-0 loss to Cluj last December is the only black mark on the record book – but even that was after we had topped last season’s Europa League group. To sum up – it was a dead rubber.
And it’s not as if Lennon just has his Celtic team sitting back and soaking up the pressure away from home either. We’ve managed to score in all nine of our meaningful Euro away trips since he arrived.
Goals and successful results have been notched against the likes of Copenhagen, Lazio, Rennes, and AIK respectively. Out of the 10 away-days, Celtic have won six.
That’s absolutely incredible stuff from the manager, and it doesn’t get the praise it deserves. Absolutely nobody has been talking about it tonight, but they should, because away-day success has haunted this club over the last 15 years or so.
Brendan Rodgers only managed to win one of his last seven away matches in Europe whilst competing in the Europa League. This isn’t an easy nut to crack, but Lennon has. He deserves massive credit for it.
Yes, there are question marks to be asked about the home form. It’s the next thing the manager has to sort out. But he deserves pats on the back for these recent victories. Nothing about playing away in Europe is simple.