Neil Lennon has said that he was proud to see his Celtic players reach the Europa League group stages and complete their recovery from an early Champions League exit.
Odsonne Edouard’s goal gave Celtic a 1-0 win over FK Sarajevo in their play-off and put his side into Friday’s draw, where they will be among the top seeds.
Qualification comes just weeks after the shock of being beaten in Champions League qualification by Ferencvaros and Lennon said his side had shown the right response to that setback.
“It’s a feeling of complete delight and pride,” he said. “I thought we were excellent and we should have won the game by more.
“We were dominant against a strong, physical, well-organised team. And I can’t tell you how bad the pitch was tonight. It was awful.
“There was definitely a hangover after going out of the Champions League to Ferencvaros. Since then we’ve won seven in a row and we have one more game to negotiate at the weekend before we have a break.
“Whenever we have a defeat the magnitude of the criticism is huge and sometimes overplayed. However, you have to accept that and we have to galvanise ourselves again to pull through a difficult period and I think we’ve come out the other side of that.
“We have so much to look forward to now, whether it be domestically or in Europe.”
The manager also praised his players for their perseverance in breaking down the opposition and taking their chance when it came.
“It’s a real good striker’s goal and I thought we worked the opportunity really well,” he said.
“Ryan picked the right option, the right decision to have the shot.
“The ball’s bounced up in front of the goalkeeper and Odsonne reacted brilliantly.”