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Football | Champions League

Celtic target European glory



Neil Lennon says Celtic are ready for their crucial Champions League match against Spartak Moscow on Wednesday despite watching his side held to a shock 1-1 draw with part-timers Arbroath in the Scottish Cup.

The Hoops face the Russians at Celtic Park on Wednesday knowing they must better Benfica's result against Barcelona if they are to clinch a place in the last 16 of the Champions League for the first time since 2008.

With one eye on that crucial clash Lennon made nine changes for the match for the visit of Second Division Arbroath.

However, his makeshift side, which still contained six internationals, couldn't end Celtic's dismal run of form at home where they have won just one of their last four matches - against Catalan giants Barcelona - and haven't won on domestic duty since October 30 when they thrashed St Johnstone 5-0 in the League Cup.

But Lennon insists his side will be fully focussed for Wednesday.

"I haven't got major problems at all. We have to shift this bogey off our back about winning at home but my disappointment is we didn't win the game comfortably like we should have done," the Celtic manager said.

"It will have absolutely no reflection on our game on Wednesday whatsoever.

"It will be a different team out there, it will be a different opposition, a different atmosphere and a different prize at the end of it.

"So the players will be fully focussed on Wednesday and I'm hoping to get a different scoreline from my point of view anyway.

"We have to rise to the occasion. We have to win the game. It's got nothing to do with today."

Against Arbroath the Hoops struggled to create any meaningful chances before a ridiculous own goal handed them a 36th minute lead when defender Stewart Malcolm's attempted clearance diverted off the backside of Alex Keddie and past Scott Morrison.

The Hoops upped the tempo in the second half and Morrison made superb saves to deny Miku and Lassad Nouioui before Arbroath shocked the home support with an 87th minute equaliser.

A Steven Doris free-kick took a wicked deflection on its way into the net to set up a December 12 replay at Gayfield.

Despite several of his fringe players failing to shine against the part-timers Lennon said he didn't regret ringing the changes for the match.

"No, not at all. It was a good team we put out and that reflected in the play," the Hoops boss said.

"We made nine changes and should have won the game but we didn't. We have hit the bar and their keeper has made a couple of good saves. We dominated possession and it wasn't as if we weren't trying to score.

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