Celtic boss sees positives in Atletico defeat

The SPL side went down 2-0 in Madrid but their manager is content with how they performed against their La Liga opponents.

Neil Lennon says he was satisfied with Celtic’s performance in defeat against Atletico Madrid, with his side having held their own in spells in their opening Europa League match.

A third minute header from Falcao was a nightmare start for the SPL side but, to their credit, they rallied well and were enjoying the majority of possession during a promising second half spell, before Diego’s strike killed off the tie.

Celtic’s performance against an expensively assembled side highlighted plenty areas for improvement but, Atletico’s goals aside, Lennon says his team held their own.

“We made a poor start, conceding a goal from a set-piece, which was very disappointing,” Lennon told ESPN.

“But I thought we played well. We had a great chance just after they scored – the keeper made a great save.

“I felt we weren’t under massive pressure. The goalie [Fraser Forster] only had to make a couple of saves at the end when we decided to go for it at 2-0.

“In between, the second goal came at probably our best spell of the game.

“We just lacked a bit of a cutting edge in the final third. Overall, I’m disappointed with the scoreline and the result, but pleased with the performance.”

An Old Firm derby lies in store for Celtic on Sunday and, despite their defeat in Madrid, Lennon believes they can take many positives into the Old Firm derby.

“I think the momentum is good,” he said. “The players will take something from this game, playing at this level against a top-quality team.

“We’ll use that to our advantage going into the game on Sunday. We’ll keep them well rested and try to keep them as fresh as we can. It’s a huge game but this is what being in football is all about.”