Neil Lennon secures fine Celtic stat after Nomme Kalju win
Neil Lennon secured a fine Celtic stat last night as the Hoops progressed against Nomme Kalju.
The 2-0 success in Estonia wasn’t a match that was being hyped up too much. Thanks to the 5-0 lead Celtic had built up from the first-leg, supporters knew the game last night was just a formality.
But Lennon undoubtedly continues to prove many wrong so far in his early stages as the Celtic boss. He’s dealt with our opening two Champions League ties with minimal fuss. Sure, stiffer tests lie ahead, but Celtic have faltered in these early stages before.
And Lennon has the stats to back up his fine European record too. As Celtic waltzed off the Tallinn pitch last night, the Northern Irishman had just secured a feet nobody else has managed since he left the club.
The 2-0 success marked four consecutive European victories – a stat nobody else has achieved since Lenny did it back in 2012-13.
Celtic have, so far, beaten Sarajevo home and away before doing the same to Kalju. They’ve conceded just two goals, and rattled home a terrific 12. It’s as good as we’ve started a Champions League qualification campaign for some time.
Not even Brendan Rodgers could match Lennon’s stat
Even during the trophy-laden Brendan Rodgers era, we still couldn’t achieve four consecutive European victories. Rodgers slipped up three times in six qualification matches during his first season. Then, in the second, Celtic would fail to win two of their six.
Last year, however, was the most heartbreaking. Rodgers’ side failed to three of their six qualification matches as they were knocked ou by AEK Athens.
Granted, Athens presents a sterner test than anything Lennon has come up against so far. But even so, Rodgers at times failed to get the consistency in Europe that Lennon has managed, even in these early rounds.
Celtic are now all set up for Saturday’s visit of St Johnstone. The Hoops go into the contest with plenty of momentum, with many in the squad looking fresh after last night’s victory.
But it’s small victories for the Celtic manager that will also help him win over those in the support who doubt him. His fine start to life at Parkhead is shown in the stats.
Hopefully, we can keep it up over the course of the next few weeks.