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Celtic's Lennon takes positives from Ajax loss

Celtic's coach Neil Lennon reacts during their Champions League soccer match at Amsterdam Arena November 6, 2013. REUTERS/Michael Kooren
Celtic's coach Neil Lennon reacts during their Champions League soccer match at Amsterdam Arena November 6, 2013. REUTERS/Michael Kooren

(Reuters) - Celtic must beat AC Milan in their next match and need a favor or two as well if they are to progress in the Champions League, manager Neil Lennon said after they lost at Ajax Amsterdam on Wednesday.

The 1-0 defeat left Celtic bottom of Group H but still in with a chance of qualification to the knockout stage with two group games left.

"There's still a lot to play for in the group and it's still very tight," Lennon told reporters.

"What we've got to hope for is that Barcelona beat Ajax and we beat Milan and we go second in the group again."

Celtic are just two points behind second-placed Milan with leaders Barcelona already guaranteed a place in the last 16. The next matches are on November 26.

"It may go down to the last games (on December 11) and we're in the Nou Camp which is not the easiest place to go to but we have to improve, especially on our first-half performance if we want to progress."

Lennon assessed they were a lot better after the break, even though the game's only goal, from Ajax's Lasse Schone, came six minutes into the second half.

"The goal came at a time when we were just getting a foothold in the game and it was a poor goal from our point of view.

"Some players will have regrets about their performances because they weren't anywhere near their best."

(Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Ed Osmond; mark.gleeson@thomsonreuters.com +27828257807 Messaging mark.gleeson.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net; ed)

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