Neil Lennon singles out top-class Craig Gordon as the difference against Qarabag

Celtic Shirt Stands

The former Celtic boss has heaped praise on the goalkeeper.

Ex-Celtic manager Neil Lennon has lauded 'top-class goalkeeper' Craig Gordon after his former side's progression into the Champions League play-offs, according to the Herald.

Indeed, the Bhoys kept a clean sheet for the second time in two games against Azerbaijani side Qarabag, narrowly making it through thanks to Dedryck Boyata's first-leg winner.

And the Hoops' former manager has heaped praise on 32-year-old Gordon, singling him out as the difference on a tough European night.

Lennon is quoted as saying by the Herald: "It shows the value of having a top-class goalkeeper, particularly away from home in Europe.

"It is important they make big saves at big moments and Craig Gordon over the 12, 13 months he has been at Celtic has proven that.

"I don’t think anyone, maybe not even Craig, could envisage how well it has gone. It is a remarkable story when you consider he has been out of top-flight football for two years."

Gordon's impact was even more notable against Inter Milan in the Europa League last year.

Celtic were on the wrong end of the European tie on that occasion, however, while lower-profile opposition has produced a higher-profile outcome based on the importance of the clash and the fact this took the Hoops one step closer to the Champions League group stages.

Friday afternoon's draw will decide who Celtic get in the play-offs, with the Bhoys' potential list of opponents narrowed down to just a handful. Being one step away, Lennon may well be praising Gordon once more if the Scottish champions can jump the final hurdle.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch