Barca win an all-time highlight for Lennon
Neil Lennon experienced an all-time highlight last night as Celtic beat Barcelona 2-1 in their Champions League Group G clash at Parkhead.
The drama began in the 21st minute when midfielder Victor Wanyama headed in from a Charlie Mulgrew corner.
The home side had to defend for most of the game as the star-studded visitors hit the woodwork twice and keeper Fraser Forster pulled off a couple of vital saves.
However, in the 83rd minute 18-year-old Tony Watt, on for Mikael Lustig to make his debut in the group stages of the competition, raced away to score the second, leaving Lionel Messi’s late strike a consolation.
Hoops boss Lennon, a former Celtic skipper, said: “This is up there with anything I’ve done in my life.
“Playing-wise, being in the team that reached the UEFA Cup final was pretty special and the 10 years I had under Martin O’Neill were great times.
“I had great times under Gordon [Strachan], making the last 16 [of the Champions League] and beating Manchester United.
“But as a manager, I don’t know if I will top that.
“I hope I do and progress, I am still young, still learning, but it’s up there with anything I’ve achieved, not just in my football career, but in my life.”
Lennon admitted his side carried some luck but was just as quick to point out the difference between the two clubs.
He said: “Barcelona had good chances and once again my keeper made some great saves.
“To beat Barcelona you need your goalkeeper to play well and the men in front of him obviously to be disciplined and concentrated.
“When we scored first we knew the storm was coming and it came.
“You need some luck, Barcelona hit the post and crossbar and they can feel unlucky that they didn’t get something from the game.
“But as far we are concerned we just played the best team in the world and Tito Vilanova can bring on David Villa and Cesc Fabregas and I am bringing on an 18-year-old kid who cost £50,00 from Airdrie.”
Former Airdrie player Watt could hardly believe the significance of his first senior goal at Celtic Park.
He said: “It’s unbelievable, one of the best victories in the club’s history, probably.
“It’s my first goal at Parkhead and it couldn’t have come any better.
“I saw the keeper coming out and I tried to put it by him and obviously I did.
“I didn’t think about how big a moment it was, I took it in my stride and put it away.
“It’s my job, you’ve got to put the chances away so I’m happy I did.
“I was nervous at the end when they scored but we saw the game out.”
Barca coach Vilanova said: “If we had scored first it might have been a different game.
“But they scored first which allowed them to defend and their goalkeeper was brilliant.
“It is not the first time we have lost a game like this and it won’t be the last.”