Champions League: Neil Lennon wary of Alejandro Bedoya threat

Bedoya enjoys a rare moment of personal joy with Rangers last season
Bedoya enjoys a rare moment of personal joy with Rangers last season

Champions League play-off round, first leg

Olympia Stadium
Tuesday, 21 August
19:45 BST
BBC Radio Scotland

Celtic manager Neil Lennon is wary of new Helsingborgs signing Alejandro Bedoya, despite the winger having a difficult time at Rangers last season.

The 25-year-old United States winger left Ibrox once the club's financial meltdown led to Division Three.

"But no doubt he will be a threat," said the Celtic manager.

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Interview - Neil Lennon

"We had him watched at the weekend, he scored a very good goal and I think he, more than most, will be motivated to play us."

Bedoya showed his quality with a spectacular debut goal in the Swedes' 2-1 defeat by leaders Elfsborg at the weekend.

"It is difficult sometimes to grow in the Old Firm environment," suggested Lennon.

"He came from Swedish football, so maybe he is better suited to Swedish football and he came at a difficult time in the club's history."

Lennon is delighted that Helsingborg's top scorer, Alfred Finnbogason, has left the Swedish club, ending his loan from Lokeren by joining Heerenveen.

"It is a bonus for us because he is a very good player and he was in good goalscoring form," said Lennon.

"I think a lot of Helsingborg play went through him, so he will be a loss to them."

Helsingborgs caretaker coach Age Hareide sprung a surprise on the eve of the game by signing Serbian striker Nikola Djurdjic on loan from Haugesund as a replacement.

Samaras thinks Celtic had their eye on Europe as they drew in Dingwall
Samaras thinks Celtic had their eye on Europe as they drew in Dingwall

"I know the name, but I don't know too much about him," admitted Lennon.

"That is one they might throw in as a surprise package, I don't know, but obviously if he has a good goalscoring record in Norway then he is obviously one we will keep an eye on."

Lennon hopes his side can build on securing a rare European victory away from home when they face Helsingborgs in Sweden.

Celtic beat HJK Helsinki home and away to set up the Champions League play-off tie, one step from the group stage.

"We have been together two years and a lot of players know we haven't done as well as we maybe should have," said the manager.

"We got through a tough tie in Helsinki and that will give the players a lot of confidence."

Celtic striker Georgios Samaras believes his side were "unprofessional" as they had to rely on a stoppage-time equaliser to avoid defeat away to promoted Ross County on Saturday.

The Greek suggested it was because they the European first leg was on their minds and Lennon, who had praised his side's character in Dingwall, agreed.

"I think unprofessional is sort of the wrong word," said the manager. "Maybe some of them had one eye on Tuesday night.

"They know the significance of the game and how big it is for themselves and everyone associated with the club.

"They all want to play Champions League football, but we have two difficult games to overcome before we can start talking about that."

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