Neil Lennon: Old Firm have 'raised the bar' in Europe

The Old Firm have "raised the bar" for Scottish football in Europe, says Celtic manager Neil Lennon.

Celtic and Rangers reached the Europa League group stage for the third season running with play-off wins on Thursday.

And Scotland's improved coefficient means two Premiership clubs will enter Champions League qualifying next term for the first time since 2011.

"Both teams have done great over the past few years and really raised the bar," Lennon told BBC Scotland.

"It's all positive. I'm so proud of my players, the away record since I've come in is fantastic."

Celtic secured their place with a 1-0 victory away to Sarajevo, where Odsonne Edouard's second-half strike finally subdued the stubborn but limited hosts.

Lennon was pleased to dispel the "hangover" of his side's Champions League qualifying exit to Ferencvaros, with Celtic having won all seven games since that 2-1 home defeat.

"My immediate reaction is one of complete delight and pride," he said. "We were excellent and it was a dominant performance against a strong, physical, well organised team.

"There was definitely a fall-out after Ferencvaros - we were bitterly disappointed and it lingers.

"Whenever we have a defeat, the magnitude of the criticism is huge and sometimes overplayed. We had to galvanise ourselves through a difficult period and we've come out the other side of that now and have so much to look forward to domestically and in Europe."

Lennon confirmed that Israel international Nir Bitton, who was forced off early with a "badly sprained ankle", is likely to miss his country's Euro 2020 play-off against Scotland next week.

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