FROM NEIL DOHERTY AT PARKHEAD: CELTIC will take a slender 2-1 lead into the second leg of their tie with HJK Helsinki after a first leg 2-1 win in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round first leg.
And the Hoops will be disappointed – they dominated the game and should have scored far more.
Ramus Schuller scored for the visitors just after the break, against the run of play.
But whereas in the past Celtic might have folded, the refused to fall back and came back within five minutes as Gary Hooper equalised.
Charlie Mulgrew then headed the winning goal on the hour to give Celtic the advantage going into the return tie in Finland next week.
The Hoops had dominated the first half, with Hooper hitting the side-netting after just 14 seconds.
There was a superb atmosphere at Celtic Park and the returning James Forrest was on fire – heading just wide after 14 minutes.
Joe Ledley then had three chances to score, missing the first – and a second shot from him a few minutes later forced Helsinki keeper, Ville Wallen, into a great save.
His drive a few minutes later was blocked.
After Helsinki took the lead just after the re-start, Celtic upped their game and Kris Commons – a changed man this season – saw his shot come off the post.
The came Hooper’s great goal, set up by the brilliant Samaras who flighted a wonderful cross from the left flank.
And just seven minutes later, Mulgrew headed home from a corner to give the Hoops the lead.
Mulgrew almost added a third a few minutes later but his shot went wide.
The Hoops had a good game tonight; there were some bright points.
But we all hope they’ve just done enough so that we can progress to the next stage.
“With the amount of chances we created I feel we can score away from home,” Lennon told BBC Radio Scotland.
“The most important thing would be to try and keep a clean sheet.”
“I’m pretty pleased with the performance,” added Lennon.
“It’s obviously bitter-sweet with the away goal but to come away with a victory is pleasing.
“They played very, very well and created a lot of chances. I was pleased with the fitness, they kept going and that was excellent.”
CELTIC (4-4-1-1): Forster; Matthews, Wanyama, Mulgrew, Izaguirre; Forrest, Brown, Ledley, Samaras (Lustig 87); Commons (Stokes 63); Hooper (McCourt 87)
Subs not used: Zaluska, Kayal, Rogne, F. Twardzik
HJK HELSINKI (4-1-3-2): Wallen; Sorsa, Lindstrom, Lahti, Sumusalo; Perovuo; Mannstrom, Vayryen (Okkonen 74), Savage; Schuller (Pohjanpalo 84), Makela (Sadik 59)
Subs not used: Sahlgren, Kansikas, Hakanpaa, Pelvas
Man of the match: Charlie MulgrewTags: