Lennon: No effect on European decider

PA Sport
Neil Lennon will make some changes for Celtic's Champions League clash with Spartak

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Neil Lennon will make some changes for Celtic's Champions League clash with Spartak

Neil Lennon insists Celtic's shock 1-1 William Hill Scottish Cup fourth-round draw against Arbroath at Parkhead will have no bearing on Wednesday night's Champions League Group G decider against Spartak Moscow.

The Clydesdale Bank Premier League champions need to do better against the Russian club than Benfica do against Barcelona in the Nou Camp in order to secure a last-16 spot.

"It will have absolutely no bearing on Wednesday whatsoever," said Lennon. "It will be a different team out there, a different opposition, a different atmosphere and a different prize at the end of it so the players will be fully focused and I am hoping to get a different scoreline."

With the importance of that game in mind, the Hoops boss made nine changes to his side - who found themselves ahead in the 35th minute in somewhat comical style when Stewart Malcolm hammered a clearance from the byline off the back of fellow Red Lichties defender Alex Keddie and into the visitors' net.

Celtic created and missed a barrowload of chances while also being foiled by Arbroath keeper Scott Morrison, but with four minutes remaining Steven Doris shocked the home side when his deflected free-kick from 25 yards ended up behind stand-in keeper Lukasz Zaluska to ensure the Hoops visit Gayfield on Wednesday week.

Lennon added: "You always feel that at 1-0 anything can happen and it did. We have missed a hatfull of chances to see the game off but we are still in the competition.

"I wanted to use my squad today and I learned some things about some players. I learned that I can't have a couple of people in the wall because they seem to want to jump out of the way.

"That annoyed me more than anything else, that's where the deflection came from, if they stand their ground that doesn't happen."

Celtic's last domestic home win was against St Johnstone on October 30 and Lennon, while relaxed about the result against Arbroath, wants to bring about an end to their recent poor home form.

The former Celtic skipper said: "I haven't got major problems at all - the only thing is it is another fixture - but we have to end this bogey of not winning at home. It was a good team we put out and that was reflected in the play. We were complacent in front of goal and that's what cost us the win."

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