Former Celtic striker Teemu Pukki admits he is looking forward to reunion with Neil Lennon



Brondby striker Teemu Pukki admits he regards Neil Lennon as a great manager, even though he struggled to make an impact under the Northern Irishman at Celtic.

The pair will be reunited tomorrow when Pukki’s Brondby travel to Hibs for a Europa League second qualifying round first leg clash.

Lennon signed the Finnish internationalist for Celtic in a £3 million transfer from Schalke in summer 2013 but, by his own admission, the forward admits he failed to adapt to the Scottish game.

teemupukkiFollowing seven goals in 14 league starts, Pukki joined the Danish outfit on loan a year later before making the switch permanent last summer.

But the 26-year-old insists his motivation to beat Hibs is not fuelled by a desire to prove a point to Lennon.

He said: “I am looking forward to coming back to Scotland and it will be nice to see Neil.

“I didn’t know he had taken on the Hibs job. When I saw that we could face Hibs I went online to check on them and I was surprised when I saw that Neil was in charge. It will be nice to play against him.

“I enjoyed playing under Neil, I think he’s a really good manager and of course when things didn’t go well, he would let you know but that’s how it should be. When we played well he gave us compliments.

“I enjoyed working with him and I have nothing bad to say about him, I think he’s a great manager.

“It was not so easy for me in Scotland in general; I didn’t really adapt to Scottish football really well but I enjoyed my time there.

“I think the physical nature and the pace of the game in Scotland was a big thing, and many of the teams defended really deep against Celtic so there’s not so much space to run in behind. That’s a big part of my game, so that was one thing as well.”

Pukki still left Celtic with memories he cherishes after playing against Barcelona, AC Milan and Ajax in the Champions League during his season with the club.

He added: “I will remember those Champions League games that we played at Celtic Park forever.

“I remember the game against Ajax that I started and we won. That’s one of the best memories I have from football. It was an unbelievable atmosphere and to win that game was great.

“Celtic is a great club. I followed the games last year and I think I will always follow how they play. I really hope things work out for them.”

Fresh from scoring three goals in Brondby’s 10-1 aggregate thrashing of Iceland team Valur in the last round, both Pukki and his team-mates will travel to Leith on a high.

Pukki, who scored twice in two victories over Hibs during his time in Scotland, added: “I’m really enjoying coming back and looking forward to these European games, it’s a big deal for us.

“Hopefully we can go to Easter Road and produce a good performance.

“We played two good games against Valur and scored a lot of goals.

“That has given us confidence but we know it won’t be easy against Hibs, it will probably be quite physical.

“We need to prepare well for it to make sure we have a good performance.

“I remember the game against Hibs for Celtic were hard games, although I do remember scoring one goal against them at Easter Road. I have some good memories there and I hope I will score again.”