Celtic boss Neil Lennon wants players to be inspired by Ajax win over Real Madrid

Neil Lennon
Neil Lennon

Interim Celtic boss Neil Lennon believes Ajax should be a great inspiration to the Hoops in Europe.

The Dutch club are the talk of European football following their dismantling of holders Real Madrid in their Champions League last-16 tie, with the stunning 4-1 win in the Bernabeu on Tuesday night taking them through to the quarter-finals on a 5-3 aggregate.

In his first spell as Celtic manager, Lennon, who took over from Brendan Rodgers last month after Rodgers departed for Leicester, guided the Parkhead club to the last 16 of the Champions League in 2013, where they lost to Juventus.

Neither his successor Ronny Deila nor Rodgers managed that feat in their combined five seasons at the helm.

Ahead of the visit of Aberdeen in the Ladbrokes Premiership today, Lennon said of Ajax: “It was magnificent but they have spent a bit of money.

“Dusan Tadic has gone in there for £15million to £18million so maybe the wage bill is around what we have but they have definitely improved financially.

“But it is fantastic and it should be a great inspiration for clubs like us.

“It takes a bit of time to build teams for that level. It took me three years to really build a good team to compete at a good level and get through the group.

“This team, with a few more additions, would be capable of competing at that level again, at a good level.

“But congratulations to Ajax, it was a wonderful performance. They played well and got the job done.

“I wasn’t over enamoured with Real Madrid’s performance.

“It looked like there are a lot of problems there behind the scenes but Ajax took full advantage.”