ADAM BOGDAN will always be grateful for the part Celtic manager Neil Lennon has played in his footballing journey.
However, there will be no room for sentiment when the Ferencvaros goalkeeper crosses swords with his old boss in Glasgow.
The pair first worked together at Bolton during the 2014/15 campaign, with Lennon pitching Bogdan into the starting line-up for the final 12 games of the season following finger and ankle injuries.
He produced a purple patch which landed him a move to Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool.
The relationship between the duo was enough for Lennon to take Bogdan on loan to Hibs in 2018 as he battled back from 17 MONTHS on the sidelines due to devastating cruciate knee ligament damage.
Bogdan recalled: “Neil was very good to me twice in my career. Once at Bolton, I was struggling he gave me the chance to come back into the side – having been No.1 before my injuries.
“I took that opportunity and he wanted me to stay at Bolton for longer. However, you don’t say no to Liverpool.
“And he was the man who gave me the chance to come back to football again with Hibs after a very long time out with my knee problems. That was a big moment and show of faith for me.”
However, Bogdan, 32, readily admits that Lennon was a challenging man to work under at times, fluctuating between ‘happiest man in the world’ to the ‘angriest man you have ever seen’ depending on the scoreline.
The Hungary international credits that to a compulsive will to win – an attribute he has a healthy respect for – and reckons that makes Celtic the perfect club for him.
Bogdan smiled: “Neil [Lennon] is not always the easiest person to be coached by because he has the highest demands you can imagine. It’s like life depends on winning!
“He can be the happiest man in the world if you are doing well or the angriest man you have ever seen if you don’t do well.
“But that’s his character and as long as you know what he is, and where that passion comes from, he is a good guy.
“I will always respect him and I am happy to see him doing well at Celtic.
“Brendan [Rodgers] put an amazing foundation in place and did a great job – and now Neil has brought his attacking ideas and demands to the club.
“He has a winning mentality and always wants to go forward, which I think fits that club very well.
“We will need to be at the very top of our game because Celtic have been playing at a high level for so long. They can be very fluent – playing one-twos, using the flanks, putting in crosses – and have many threats going forward.”
Nevertheless, Bogdan is adamant the Hungarian giants are not in Glasgow to make up the numbers, with Fradi boasting a ‘humble confidence’ after picking up six points in a Europa League group with Espanyol, Ludogorets and CSKA Moscow last term.
They even secured a stunning 1-0 win in Russia, which should serve as a warning to the Hoops.
Bogdan added: “The dream is to get into the Champions League group phase – but we could have drawn an easier opponent, that’s for sure!
“We are not expected to win because everyone has a lot of respect for Celtic’s history. However, I’d say we have humble confidence. The team reached the Europa League group stages last season and competed with teams like Espanyol and CSKA Moscow.
“We are tactically mature, but the question in Europe is whether you can live up to the speed of the game because it can sometimes be different from the Hungarian league matches.”
Having suffered a 4-2 defeat at Celtic Park while at Hibs, Bogdan is acutely aware of the impact the fans can have on a contest. However, he is loath to predict what effect the lack of punters will have.
He added: “You could certainly say we will benefit from there being no crowd to cheer them on and help them through difficult times. That atmosphere can undoubtedly drive them on.
“But at the same time, I’d like to think we would have been inspired to play the game of our lives at a full Celtic Park.
“The truth is, you will only really know if it had any effect when the full-time whistle blows.”