Celtic boss Neil Lennon plots win over Atletico Madrid

Celtic manager Neil Lennon
Lennon is targeting a win over Atletico to boosts Celtic's Europa League hopes

Celtic manager Neil Lennon is targeting a win over Atletico Madrid to keep their Europa League hopes alive.

The Glasgow club are two points behind Group I leaders Atletico, with two games remaining.

"We have grown in confidence as the tournament has gone on," said Lennon.

"If we win it, it gives us a great chance of qualifying from a really tough group. It will set up the rest of the season nicely."

Celtic lost 2-0 in Madrid in their opening Group I game, but draws against Udinese and Rennes were followed by a home victory against the French outfit.

And Lennon believes his side's improved form in the SPL, in narrowing the gap on leaders Rangers to four points, should benefit them against the Spaniards.

"Of course it lifts us when we see the team play as well as they can," he said. "That's all we ask of them and it's not an easy thing to do.

"We can't play like that every week, every game is different, every opposition throws up challenges on different merits. What we have to do is try to overcome them as best we can.

"We are back in contention in the title race and we've now got a great game to look forward to."

The Celtic boss is eager to see his side progress in the Europa League, but conceded that it would be tough.

"The players have grown as the tournament has evolved and we are delighted with that," he said.

"They are all looking forward to playing but we are not taking anything for granted.

"Going into the group, Atletico would have been the favourites. We all know they are a formidable opponent."

Celtic's opponents arrive in Glasgow on the back of a 4-1 derby defeat by city rivals and La Liga leaders Real.

"We are expecting a really tough game in the return match," said midfielder Mario Suarez.

"We know they'll make it difficult for us but, of course, we're ready for the game.

"We need to make sure we give 100% - if we do that we will get what we're looking for."