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Friday 15 November 2019

Bhoys won't just sit back

Lennon promises to play off front front

Celtic’s Odsonne Edouard will provide with a potent threat
Celtic’s Odsonne Edouard will provide with a potent threat

Neil Lennon insists Celtic will go on the front foot and look to seal their Europa League place by killing off AIK Stockholm tonight.

The Hoops take a 2-0 lead to Sweden as they look to clinch a pass to the group stages.

And Lennon has dismissed any notion of his side sitting in to protect the advantage they built up in Glasgow last week thanks to strikes from James Forrest and Odsonne Edouard.

The Northern Irishman believes that will only invite trouble to the Scottish champions' door.

Instead, he will order his men to stick to the attacking game plan that has taken them to the brink of qualification.

"We're a front-foot team," the Hoops boss said.

"We're not going to ask players to do something alien in the space of two or three days.

"Setting up defensively might be a recipe for disaster.

"AIK are dangerous. They won at the weekend, they have good strikers and in Seb Larsson they have a very experienced, quality player who's a threat at set-plays.

"Set-pieces are something we have to be very wary of.

"They have a good mentality and will believe the tie's not over so we have to respect that as well."

Celtic conceded four times at home as they were dumped out of the Champions League by Romanian club Cluj.

But they barely broke a sweat as they took care of AIK at Parkhead last week.

Lennon would not be surprised if his side have more to deal with at the Friends Arena - but that will not mean he alters his game plan.

"If the time runs down they might come out and have a real go at us or they might do that to start with," he said.

"They may be patient, let us have the ball and counter-attack us.

"I can't predict it but what I can predict is we'll play how we want to play and impose our game on them."

Meanwhile, Celtic have signed right-back Moritz Bauer on a season-long loan deal from Stoke.

The 27-year-old Austria international joined the Potters in 2018 and made 21 Sky Bet Championship starts, the last of those coming on the last day of the 2018/19 campaign.

Hoops boss Neil Lennon has been looking for cover at right-back, having brought in Hatem Abd Elhamed but allowed Mikael Lustig and Christian Gamboa to leave.

Bauer said: "I'm really, really looking forward to it. I know about the stadium, the historical Celtic Park, and I hope that I can win trophies here and have a very successful season.

"It's a massive club with a big history and when you see the stadium from the outside and the players there who have already worn the jersey - they are big names.

"I love being here and having the target of being first as I like that pressure. There are players here who have already won titles, and it's a big opportunity for me to learn from them and grow as a player as I hope to be part of a successful team."

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