Neil Lennon admits Celtic only have themselves to blame for exit

‘We shot ourselves in the foot’: Neil Lennon admits Celtic only have themselves to blame for Europa League exit after shock home defeat by Copenhagen

  • A goal down after a Jozo Simunovic error gifted Danish champions an away goal
  • Odsonne Edouard dinked a cool, composed Panenka spot kick down the middle
  • For 180 seconds anything seemed possible, yet Celtic were never ‘really’ at it
  • Pep Biel enjoyed acres of space to roll the balll through the legs of Fraser Forste

Neil Lennon insisted Celtic had only themselves to blame for blowing a place in the last 16 of the Europa League.

The first Danish side to score a goal or win at Parkhead, FC Copenhagen were gifted a shock 3-1 win by some calamitous hoops defending.

Jozo Simunovic was badly at fault for the opening goal for substitute Michael Santos after 51 minutes.

Neil Lennon insisted Celtic had only themselves to blame after some calamitous defending

And, despite the intervention of VAR handing Odsonne Edouard a penalty equaliser after 79 minutes, Stale Solbakken’s side silenced Parkhead with a killer second from Pep Biel two minutes later before Dame N’Doye hammered the final nail into the coffin in the final stages. Mustering just three shots on target, Copenhagen scored with all three.

‘I’m hugely disappointed because we basically shot ourselves in the foot,’ said Celtic boss Lennon.

‘We had total control in the first half, I don’t remember Fraser Forster having much to do. We had all the flow, we hit the post and had crosses going across the goal.

Michael Santos (right) celebrates with Pep Biel during the match after scoring his side’s first

‘At half time we were really pleased with the way the game had gone. But we made a mistake at the start of the second half and gave them oxygen and encouragement. We got back into the game, deservedly so, for all our good play.

‘Then we just needed to manage the game and we didn’t do it. We shot ourselves in the foot for the second half and that was the big moment of the tie.’ Handed a lifeline when defender Ragnar Sigurdsson’s handball was clocked by VAR, Celtic were sunk when Tom Rogic lost possession in the centre circle two minutes later.

‘We had a great opportunity and we let it go. It’s bitterly disappointing to lose in the manner we did because we were the better team for huge parts of the game.

Celtic snatched one back with a cheeky Panenka penalty from Odsonne Edouard in the 83rd

‘We overplayed at the back and really should have gone back to the goalkeeper and reset. For some reason, we were getting pressed and played a loose ball in midfield, we were out of position and got punished for it. That’s not us.

‘These players have been absolutely brilliant for me and I’m not going to sit here and criticise them for mistakes they made tonight. They deserved better but that’s football – it’s cruel sometimes.

‘They are intelligent boys they know they have let themselves down a little bit. We’ve had a good Europa League run and I’m really disappointed it has ended.

Just seconds later Pep Biel put the Danes ahead again as he slotted home under Fraser Forster

‘We did all the forcing, Copenhagen didn’t have to work hard for their goals. We gave them away cheaply.

‘Even when the players were over for a drink during the VAR check, we told them it was definitely a penalty and if we score it, just stay solid and make sure it goes to extra time at least.’

Securing a passage to today’s last 16 draw where they could meet Rangers, Stale Solbakken admitted some of his players had joked about the prospect with Steven Gerrard.

‘Some of our injured players went to Rangers training ground for treatment today and met Steven Gerrard. I think he was hoping to meet us in the next round.

Dame N’Doye (right) celebrates with team-mates after scoring the Danish side’s third goal

‘I watched the League Cup Final and the last league game between them and they are two evenly matched sides. So it would be just as tough for us, if not tougher.

‘It was small margins tonight. They could have killed us off in the first half last week and we could have scored the penalty.

‘They had us a little bit on the ropes later in the first half. The second half was a very even game, it could have gone either way.

‘We are very proud that we came to a stadium like this and scored three goals.’

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