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Wednesday 18 October 2017

Lennon: I must rebuild Bhoys

Boss keen to bring in new stars and seal Champions League qualification

Celtic's Mohamed Bangura, on loan with Elfsborg, takes the ball past clubmate Scott Brown. Picture: Bjorn Olsson/REUTERS
Celtic's Mohamed Bangura, on loan with Elfsborg, takes the ball past clubmate Scott Brown. Picture: Bjorn Olsson/REUTERS

NEIL LENNON will raid the transfer market before Celtic's final Champions League qualifier on August 20/21.

Kevin Doyle has been a long-time target for the Celtic boss with a game of poker going on with Wolves who are keen to shed the top earner from their wage bill but not at a knock-down fee.

Tomorrow morning Celtic will find out which club blocks their path to the group stages of the Champions League following last night's 0-0 draw with Elfsborg that edged the Hoops through on a 1-0 aggregate.

Celtic will face the champions of Austria, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Poland or Kazakstan with a €25million prize up for grabs if they can return to the group stage that they graced last season.

Short

With Kelvin Wilson expected to complete his move to Nottingham Forest over the next few days, Lennon knows that his squad is short on numbers and quality following the departures of Gary Hooper and Victor Wanyama.

The Celtic boss has brought in four players since the transfer window opened but none of them were in action last night with injuries ruling out Virgil van Dijk and Derk Boerrigter while Amido Balde and Steven Mouyokolo have yet to make an impression.

"It's a priority to get a few players in before the next tie and we are going to work at that," the Celtic boss confirmed. "We are threadbare and the players were running on empty in this one.

"It's been a really tough start, these qualifiers normally are and we need to get people in." Lennon added: "We've got to give an enormous amount of credit to Elfsborg who gave everything but I thought we should have had the tie wrapped up after 15 minutes.

"Georgios Samaras had a header that we would have expected him to score or at least get on target, and their keeper made a fantastic save from Joe Ledley.

"We only needed one goal then to really burst Elfsborg's enthusiasm but after that we become a little bit scrappy. Sammy wasn't anywhere near 100 per cent fit but he gave us everything tonight."

Wilson joined Celtic on a Bosman deal two years ago from Nottingham Forest but is expected to return to his home-town club for family reasons.

"It was a great way to bow out if it does prove to be my last game for the club," the defender admitted. "The situation has not really affected me mentally. It has not been easy but people have been looking too much into it.

"I know they have been looking at my state of mind and asking if I am alright to play but that has never been a factor for me or for the manager.

"He has shown tremendous faith but there was a bit of added pressure. If things had gone wrong, people would have been doubting my state of mind.

"That was a big thank you to him tonight. I have a lot of respect for the gaffer and I gave my all for him tonight as I have always done."

Celtic's next match is on Saturday at the Aviva Stadium when they take on Liverpool.

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