Lennon feeling upbeat
Celtic manager concedes HJK tie is still in the balance
Last Updated: August 1, 2012 11:12pm
Neil Lennon: Celtic manager is feeling upbeat following the 2-1 win over HJK Helsinki
Neil Lennon does not believe Celtic's dominance against HJK Helsinki was reflected in a 2-1 scoreline in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League third-round qualifier.
Finnish side HJK took the lead just after half-time through Rasmus Schuller before goals from Gary Hooper and Charlie Mulgrew ensured Celtic will take a lead into next week's return leg.
However, early profligacy ensured the Bhoys did not have a more commanding advantage and leaves the tie finely balanced.
Celtic boss Lennon was bullish in his assessment of his side's first competitive 90 minutes of the season and their prospects in the return game in Helsinki.
"I am not disappointed at all," said the Northern Irishman. "It is a huge improvement on where we were last year.
"I think Helsinki can count themselves pretty fortunate that it was only 2-1.
"They will think they have got a good result but I have seen enough there....there is plenty of scope for us in the away tie.
"I am not looking at it through rose-tinted glasses, I do look at it from a different perspective sometimes. I am pleased with the performance.
"The scoreline doesn't reflect the performance but sometimes that happens.
"We have a week to get ready, we have another game at the weekend obviously and the players will benefit from that game tonight.
"The tempo of the game was good and some of the football and chances created were superb against a team who just wanted to sit in and counter-attack.
"We want European football badly and I think the players showed that.
"For me, the tie is in the balance. We are a goal up which gives us a slight advantage over them
"They will have to come out and score, they showed they are capable of doing that but then again, so are we."