Celtic manager Neil Lennon hopes his side’s gutsy fightback to earn a 2-2 draw against Lyon in the Emirates Cup will prove his players with the inspiration for a great escape in the Champions League.
Lennon’s team recovered from two goals down thanks to late strikes from Gary Hooper and Georgios Samaras in the pre-season tournament at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
But the Scottish club need to overturn an even greater deficit when they face Braga in the Champions League third qualifying round second leg at Parkhead on Wednesday.
The Hoops trail 3-0 after being thrashed in Portugal in midweek and Lennon said: “We’ve got to take a lot of positives from this performance, the chances we created, the way we pressed well.
“They know now they can play against top players and compete well. I know it was a pre-season game but it’s a positive sign.
“I think they will get confidence from the performance never mind the comeback.
“We kept going with a lot of young kids out there. I was thrilled with them.”
The only downside for Lennon was an injury to captain Scott Brown, who limped off after taking a knock on his foot, but the Celtic boss hopes his midfield dynamo will be back to face Braga.
“Scott Brown got a bang on the foot. We’ll just have to see how it is on Sunday,” he said.
Lyon coach Claude Puel was impressed with his side’s fluent play but conceded the gloss had been taken off their performance by Celtic’s late goals.
“The last 10 minutes were a real shame because it ruined the good things we did before,” he said.
“We’ve learned a lot about our players. We showed great composure, passed he ball well and created lots of chances.
“I enjoyed our second goal with the young players involved. It was encouraging but we will play a more experienced team against Milan on Sunday.”
Lyon had been in control of the match thanks to goals from Michel Bastos and Harry Novillo.