Lennon not concerned over surface

The artificial surface does not worry Neil Lennon ahead of Celtic's Champions League clash with Spartak Moscow

The artificial surface does not worry Neil Lennon ahead of Celtic's Champions League clash with Spartak Moscow

First published in National Sport News © by

Neil Lennon played down the possible impact the Luzhniki Stadium's artificial surface might have on Celtic's chances in tonight's Champions League Group G clash with Spartak Moscow.

Only skipper Scott Brown remains from the Parkhead team which drew 1-1 at the venue against the Russian side in a Champions League play-off match in 2007. In August, Lennon's charges beat HJK Helsinki 2-0 on plastic in the second leg of their Champions League qualifier to go through 4-1 on aggregate and the Hoops boss believes that will have encouraged his players.

However, he also admits his tactics and personnel tonight may depend on exactly how the surface is playing, and he said: "I don't think that (pitch) is going to be a problem. We played on one in Helsinki and that experience will benefit us going into the game."

He added: "It doesn't look to me as if it is a quick pitch and so it may adapt our thinking as to how we are going to play. But it shouldn't be a major problem, artificial pitches at this level are normally excellent."

Spartak are looking for their first points after losing 3-2 away to Barcelona in their opening game as the Scottish champions played out a goalless home draw against Benfica.

Lennon believes his side go into the game as underdogs but is confident of getting a positive result.

He said: "Russian football is certainly stronger (than Scottish). There are some big clubs here in Moscow alone and you have Anzhi Makhachkala who are ploughing a lot of money into the game as well.

"In terms of finances, there are just no comparisons, but it is all about on the night. If we can get a foothold in the game we can be a handful for anyone.

"I think this team is growing as we go along and there is a confidence about them but we are going to have to be at our very best if we are going to get anything out of our game."

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