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Lennon: Celtic supporters best in the world
Dec 10, 2013 4:57 PM EST
Celtic manager Neil Lennon defended the club's supporters after 128 fans were banned following crowd trouble against Motherwell.
The reigning Scottish champions produced a dominant display to earn a 5-0 triumph at Fir Park on Friday, but the victory was somewhat soured due to the actions of certain sections of the travelling supporters.
Celtic now turn their attention to the UEFA Champions League and their final Group H fixture at Barcelona, with the fans sure to be under close scrutiny at Camp Nou.
But Lennon allayed fears of supporters misbehaving, and insists the club's followers are some of the best in the game.
"Our supporters are the best in the world, bar none," he said ahead of Wednesday's showdown. "We've had a few problems of late that the club are trying to deal with as swiftly as they can.
"It won't take away the great support we have in Britain and around the world, and the respect we've forged around the world.
"I'm looking forward to the atmosphere as well as the game. I think it will be a great occasion."
Captain Scott Brown returns for Celtic after serving a three-match ban following a straight red card for an incident with Barcelona's Neymar in the reverse fixture.
Lennon admits Celtic missed Brown's influence, and maintains the Brazilian went down too easily in the challenge.
"It did hurt us losing Scott because he's our captain and leader, on and off the field," he added. "I thought at that moment that action (by Neymar) seems somewhat exaggerated.
"But it is not a criticism of the player, he has wonderful talent and I think he will grow and become a great player in the coming years."
Full-back Adam Matthews is in contention to return from a shoulder injury and could replace Emilio Izaguirre, who is suspended after collecting three yellow cards.