Celtic are well prepared for their UEFA Champions League second round qualifier against Ferencvaros as Lennon recalls the last time he faced Hungarian opposition as a player.
In the play-off round of the 2003/04 Champions League, the Hoops overcame MTK Hungaria 5-0 on aggregate – winning 4-0 away from home, courtesy of goals from Henrik Larsson, Didier Agathe, Stiliyan Petrov and Chris Sutton, and prevailing 1-0 via a solo strike from the latter Englishman in Glasgow.
Neil Lennon didn’t manage to play in the return leg but the Hoops gaffer does remember that it was still a tough place to go and get a win.
The Celtic Boss said:
“We had a really good win away from home, we won 4-0 over there, but I wasn’t involved the home leg, which we also won 1-0. I remember a sprinkler going off in the middle of the game. That was one of those strange moments that sticks in your head. That tie was 5-0 altogether over the course. We’d take something similar in any game we play this season, that’s for sure.
“The qualifiers are really difficult games, though. We’ve got Ferencvaros, who had a good win against Djurgarden last week. Their away record last year in the Europa League was pretty impressive, so, again, it’s going to be a tough game. We’re going to miss that home support, which is always vital for us, but the incentives are there for us.
“Hopefully, we can negotiate the tie. It might take a bit of patience, they’re very well-organised, they’ve got a bit of quality in the final third, so it’s definitely an opponent that we’ll need to be well prepared against.”
Lennon then goes on to talk about the structure this year as there could only be one match and not a return due to the pandemic.
“In terms of what we need to do on the pitch, the single leg stuff is really no different from any other year, to be honest, we need to play well on the night and hope that we handle the big moments in the game.
“In terms of the wider occasion, it’s not the same without the atmosphere, but we’re adapting as well as we can. Naturally, we lose that extra edge that the home support would normally give us, but the fact that we’re at home, it’s pleasing, and hopefully we can utilise that to our maximum advantage.”