Neil Lennon feels the criticism aimed at Celtic over the last week has bordered on ‘hysteria’ and he’s tipping his team to respond against AIK Stockholm in the Europa League.
The Scottish champions were knocked out of the Champions League last week by Romanian side Cluj after a 4-3 defeat on home soil, while they were then taken to extra-time by Dunfermline in the Betfred Cup on Saturday before squeezing through.
After six European qualifiers, two league games and one League Cup outing, Lennon’s side have been beaten only once this season, leading to the Hoops boss mounting a valiant defence.
“We’ve lost one game – I didn’t believe we deserved to and that’s the harsh realities of the game,” he said. “We’re fine. We’re absolutely fine. It’s like everyone out there is head down. We’re not. We’re bullish and looking forward to the games. “There has to be a sense of perspective.
“I can’t control that but there has been a little bit of hysteria at times. That is the environment you’re in in Glasgow sometimes.” Celtic have made the group stage of the Champions League or the Europa League every season since 2011 and Lennon knows it is vital his side maintain that record by overcoming the Swedes.
“It’s important we get through. It gives us gravitas, opens the season up and gives us European football to look forward to towards Christmas, so it’s an important couple of games,” he added. “There’s a narrative going around that we might be a little bit off colour. We’re not.
“We’re absolutely not and hopefully the players can go out and show that.” Celtic are 13.00 to beat AIK 3-1 at Parkhead, with the visitors 7.00 to claim a first leg advantage.