NEIL LENNON last night warned his Celtic players still face a difficult task qualifying for the Europa League group stages despite beating AIK 2-0 in the first leg of their play-off.

Second-half goals from James Forrest and Odsonne Edouard secured a deserved victory for Neil Lennon’s side against Rikard Norling’s team at Parkhead.

However, the Northern Irishman admitted the Scottish champions will still have to perform at their best in the rematch with their Swedis rivals in the Friends Arena in Stockholm next Thursday night in order to progress.

“It was an outstanding performance, a great team performance,” he said. “We played well in the first-half, but in the second-half we had real good control of the game. We could have scored more.


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“I’ve got to be delighted with that. All round, everyone was in good nick. Some of the football we played was great and we scored two fabulous goals.

“But you never say it’s enough. We’ll approach the second leg against AIK as professionally as we always do, make sure we can get the job done properly and look forward to the group stage.

“We still have a very important 90 minutes ahead of us and we can’t take anything for granted.”

Meanwhile, Lennon admitted that bringing in former England goalkeeper Fraser Forster on a season-long loan could give him a selection headache when Scott Bain recovers from his dislocated finger.

Forster was paraded on the park at half-time in a game that Craig Gordon, who has come in to replace the injured Bain, kept a clean sheet in.

“We were a goalkeeper down and the opportunity came to get Fraser back,” he said. “I’m delighted to acquire his services. He is an outstanding goalkeeper.

“I’ve got three outstanding goalkeepers now and it’s a department that is very important. It will probably be difficult to keep them all happy, but we have strong competition and that’s what I want.

“Fraser has missed out on a little bit of football in the last year or so, but we know he is an outstanding talent. He is a Premier League goalkeeper and is itching to play. He gives you that presence in goal, it’s unique.


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“He was outstanding for me the first time here and I hope he replicates that this time. We will assess him on Friday and Saturday and see how he is.

“It looks like Scott Bain is out for a month and will miss the Scotland games too. A splint has been made and he’s doing some training but it’s still sore.”

Lennon singled out goalscorers Forrest and Edouard and new signings Boli Bolingoli and Christopher Jullien, who have struggled since being signed this summer, for praise after the AIK win.

“Edouard is playing brilliantly,” he said. “He is in brilliant goalscoring form and is leading the line superbly. I can’t speak highly enough of his talent and mentality. He is becoming such an integral part and important figure in the team. His goal was absolutely outstanding.

“I think he’s underplayed, Jamesie, in terms of the public image he has. I think that suits him anyway. That’s five in five now so we don’t take it for granted, what he does.

“He’s an outstanding player. He’s got so much more to come. I’ve known him for a long, long time. He’s done wonders for me first time around and he’s doing it again. He can be delighted with his contribution, as can many of the others.”

Lennon added: “The clean sheet tonight was really important, because we’ve not had one for three or four games. We defended resolutely when we needed to.

“The centre halves were very strong and Boli Bolingoli played particularly well. We were big and physical when we needed to be and let the others get on with it

“I was very pleased (for Bolingoli) and hopefully that will settle him down. I thought Jullien had a great game, a strong game as well. Maybe they’re not that bad after all.

“I have to pay tribute to the supporters tonight, they were fantastic. It was a great atmosphere for the players to play in.”