Neil Lennon believes the Champions League has been a "great substitute" for the absence of Rangers from the Clydesdale Bank Premier League this season.

The Ibrox club relaunched itself in Irn-Bru Division Three for the start of this season after financial problems consigned them to liquidation in the summer.

The loss of four Old Firm derbies in the SPL, according to the Hoops boss, has been compensated by Celtic's Champions League journey which could continue still after tonight's final Group G match against Spartak Moscow at Parkhead.

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When asked about life without Rangers at the pre-match press conference at Celtic Park last night, Lennon said: "There is no doubt it has been difficult at times.

"There has been an economic problem with not having the four Old Firm games this season, a lot of revenue and interest has been taken away.

"Getting through to the Champions League has been a sort of great substitute, certainly for the players and supporters, they have really enjoyed the campaign so far.

"As regards next year, it will be the exact same remit. I think we might have three qualifiers to get through so it will make qualifying even more difficult.

"But that is just the reality of where we are so we have to accept that and make the best of what we have and that is exactly what Celtic are trying to do."