Celtic 'going in right direction' as Cluj await, says Neil Lennon

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'Celtic going in the right direction'

Celtic are "going in the right direction" as they prepare for a Champions League trip to Romania to face Cluj, says manager Neil Lennon.

An own goal and a debut strike by Marian Shved gave Celtic a 2-0 win in Estonia to complete a 7-0 aggregate victory over Nomme Kalju.

But Lennon knows they face a tougher test in the third qualifying round against a side who have reached the group stage three times in 11 years.

"They're a difficult side," he said.

Cluj, who won the Romanian title last term, drew 2-2 with Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel to secure a 3-2 aggregate success, having beating Astana of Kazakhstan in the first round.

"The good thing for me is that the first leg is away so hopefully we can get some type of result to take back to Celtic Park," Lennon told BBC Scotland of next week's meeting.

"We've done a lot of work on them already so we'll be well prepared. We know it will be a step up, but we're going in the right direction. There's no question of that."

'I'm pleased for the new boys'

Lennon left both James Forrest and Callum McGregor in Glasgow and started several fringe players in Tallinn, but his side still dominated a team currently fourth in the Estonian top flight.

Centre-back Christopher Jullien - a £7m signing from Bordeaux - made his debut, while Ukrainian winger Shved also made an impact after being introduced and Olivier Ntcham had his first outing of the term.

"I'm not getting carried away but I'm pleased for the new boys coming in," the manager said.

"Christopher had his first 90 minutes. I thought Olivier was outstanding considering that was his first real run out. And it was a great goal from Marian. He showed what he's capable of in a little cameo.

"I've also got Forrest and McGregor to factor in and [Kristoffer] Ajer and [Odsonne] Edoaurd to come back as well. So the depth is looking a lot better and we're in a good place at the minute."

Despite that - and the signings of Boli Bolingoli from Rapid Vienna and Hatem Abd Elhamed from Hapoel Be'er Sheva - Lennon said there are still "two or three" positions that he is keen to strengthen.

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