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Neil Lennon shares his two happiest moments at Celtic

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The 2003 UEFA Cup final is a Game in Celtic’s recent History that is still very painful for the fans to deal with.

I wasn’t in Seville but I do remember the build-up to the final and how amazing it was to see Celtic in a major showpiece European final again.

And the best part? We had a genuine chance of winning it. With Henrik Larsson in the side, anything was possible.

But also having the likes of Chris Sutton, Paul Lambert and Johan Mjallby in the team gave the fans hope that Celtic could overcome Jose Mourinho’s Porto.

We all know what happened next. Losing the final hurt but getting to Seville was amazing and Neil Lennon has explained the Game he rates as ‘very special’ and higher than the final itself.

Beating Liverpool at Anfield shut up Celtic critics

We all remember the run to the final. The best highlight was Graeme Souness being put in his place for his ‘men vs boys’ comment after his Blackburn team came away from Glasgow with a draw.

Celtic put them in their place with a win in England but Lennon explains why the victory at Anfield remains very close to his heart when he was asked about his best moments as a Parkhead manager and player.

Lennon said [Scottish Football Podcast], “Beating Barcelona as a manager and then as a player? Probably the night in Boavista when we knew we were going to the UEFA Cup final having beaten Liverpool on the way.

“Seville is really bittersweet because it was great getting there but we lost. So it didn’t mean a lot in the end.

“Anfield away was very, very special because the likes of myself, Thommo and Sutty we’ve all played in England and we were sort of looked down upon like, ‘What are you going up there for like, you know?’

“And to come down, the whole battle of Britain thing, England v Scotland, and we were underdogs, and we went and played them off the park basically, and beat them 2-0.

“And you can see what it meant to the fans. That was the start of something special again, you know.

“The European nights were pretty special. Juventus, Lyon, Barcelona, all of them. That’s really difficult to replicate again.”

Neil Lennon of Celtic shields the ball from Vladimir Smicer of Liverpool during the UEFA Cup Quarter-Final second leg match held on March 20, 2003 ...
Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

That night was incredible. The moment John Hartson’s thunderbolt hit the back of Jerzy Dudek’s net, I knew I witnessing a huge moment in Celtic’s history.

The Anfield win is one that is long talked about by the Celtic fans. Much like the 1-0 win over Manchester United in the Champions League at Parkhead.

These results will never be forgotten. And, hopefully, we will see that again if Brendan Rodgers gets to strengthen the team with the players he wants in this summer’s transfer window.

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