“We shot ourselves in the foot”: Neil Lennon admits that Celtic is only to blame for the exit of the Europa League after a shock defeat against Copenhagen
- A goal down after a mistake by Jozo Simunovic, Danish champions gifted an away game
- Odsonne Edouard dipped a cool, composed Panenka spot in the middle
- For 180 seconds everything seemed possible, but Celtic was never ‘really’ in it
- Pep Biel enjoyed acres of space to roll the ball through the legs of Fraser Forste
Neil Lennon insisted that Celtic was solely to blame for blowing up a place in the last 16 of the Europa League.
The first Danish party to score or win a goal at Parkhead, got a blow to FC Copenhagen 3-1 by defending a number of disastrous hoops.
Jozo Simunovic was badly in the opening goal for substitute Michael Santos after 51 minutes.
Neil Lennon insisted that Celtic was only to blame after a disastrous defense
And, despite the intervention of VAR who handed a penalty equalizer to Odsonne Edouard after 79 minutes, Stale Solbakken silenced Parkhead with a killing second from Pep Biel two minutes later before Dame N’Doye hammered the last nail in the coffin. Copenhagen collected only three shots on goal and scored with all three.
“I am extremely disappointed because we shot ourselves in the foot,” said Celtic boss Lennon.
“We had total control in the first half, I can’t remember that Fraser Forster had a lot to do. We had all the flow, we hit the pole and had crosses going over the goal.
Michael Santos (right) celebrates with Pep Biel during the game after scoring his first
“At half time we were very happy with the way the game went. But we made a mistake at the start of the second half and gave them oxygen and encouragement. We ended up back in the game, for all our good game.
“Then we just had to manage the game and we didn’t do that. We shot ourselves in the foot for the second half and that was the big moment of the draw. ‘Handed a lifeline when defender Ragnar Sigurdsson’s handball was clocked by VAR, Celtic was sunk when Tom Rogic lost his possession in the center circle two minutes later.
“We had a great opportunity and we let it go. It is bitterly disappointing to lose the way we did, because we were the better team for large parts of the game.
Celtic grabbed one back with a cheeky Panenka penalty from Odsonne Edouard in the 83rd
“We replayed at the back and should have gone back to the keeper and set again. For some reason we got under pressure and played a loose ball in midfield, we were out of position and were punished for it. We are not.
“These players have been absolutely brilliant for me and I’m not going to sit here and criticize them for mistakes they made tonight. They deserved better, but that is football – it is sometimes cruel.
“They are intelligent guys that they know have let themselves down a bit. We have had a good Europa League run and I am really disappointed that it has ended.
Just a few seconds later Pep Biel gave the Danes a head start while he went home under Fraser Forster
‘We have already done the forcing, Copenhagen did not have to work hard for their goals. We gave them away cheaply.
“Even when the players were ready for a drink during the VAR check, we told them it was definitely a penalty and if we score it, just stay good and make sure it goes at least extra time.”
Stale Solbakken assured a passage to today’s final 16 draw where they could meet Rangers and admitted that some of his players had made a joke about the prospect with Steven Gerrard.
“Some of our injured players went to the Rangers training field today and met Steven Gerrard. I think he hoped to meet us in the next round.
Dame N’Doye (right) celebrates with teammates after scoring the third goal from the Danish side
‘I have watched the League Cup final and the last competition match between them and they are two equal matches. So it would be just as hard for us if not harder.
“They were small margins tonight. They could have killed us in the first half last week and we could have scored the penalty.
‘They had us on the ropes a bit later in the first half. The second half was a very similar game, it could have gone in all directions.
“We are very proud that we came to a stadium like this and scored three goals.”