Celtic manager Neil Lennon has told Nottingham Forest that their reported £1.5million bid for Kelvin Wilson is nowhere near the price the Scottish
champions have slapped on the central defender.
Brentford 1-2 Celtic
Scorers: Brentford - Forshaw (10); Celtic - Balde (23), McGregor (57)
The 27-year-old left the City Ground to move to Celtic Park two years ago, but Forest manager Billy Davies is keen to tie up his return.
Wilson was a key figure for Lennon’s men as they marched through last season’s Champions League group stages and was rumoured to be on the verge of an England call-up. The Celtic manager does not want to lose the former Notts County and Preston player and has told Forest their offer is well short of the Parkhead side’s valuation.
Lennon said: “There was a bid came in on Friday. I haven’t had the chance to digest it yet, but on the surface it’s not going to be anywhere near enough. He was very consistent last year and showed his qualities and the reasons why we bought him.
“He’s got two years left on his contract so he’s in a stable position as far as that is concerned. There’s no need to push the panic button. I didn’t get the chance to speak to him about things yesterday, but I’d imagine he’d want to stay.
“Funnily enough he is in Nottingham for the weekend, but that’s purely coincidental.”
On the pitch, Celtic prepared for the return leg of their Champions League second qualifying round tie with a 2-1 win over Brentford on Saturday.
Goals from Amido Balde and Callum McGregor were enough to secure victory for Lennon’s men, although the match was more memorable for a full-scale pitch invasion by the 6,000-strong Celtic support and a number of smoke bombs and flares being let off. That led to Lennon being escorted from the pitch by security as the fans began to party.
Lennon made numerous changes for the trip to London in comparison with the side that defeated Cliftonville 3-0 in Belfast last Wednesday, with seven players under the age of 21 selected. There was also a start for Steven Mouyokolo, the French defender signed recently after his release from Hull.
It was, however, Brentford who opened the scoring on 10 minutes. Celtic were caught napping by a quick cross to the back post and Adam Forshaw rose to head the ball beyond Lukasz Zaluska, despite Darnell Fisher’s best efforts to turn it back out on the goal line.
Celtic didn’t wait long to get the equaliser. It came from Balde, scoring his first goal since moving from Vitoria Guimaraes. Tony Watt made it, feeding the ball through to the burly Portuguese, and, under pressure from two Brentford defenders, he managed to put it beyond the hosts’ goalkeeper Jack Bonham
Balde could have doubled his tally soon after following some fine attacking play from right-back Fisher, but he failed to find the net.
He powered beyond the Bees rearguard again after 40 minutes and was desperately unlucky to see his delicate chip hit the bar. Watt, on the follow-up, could only hammer the ball against the goal-frame as the score remained 1-1.
Celtic began the second half as they ended the first. McGregor was first to serve notice, firing an effort just over the bar but the same player didn’t have to wait long for another chance in front of goal. This time, on 57 minutes, he made no mistake. Watt was again the architect, playing a sumptuous cross for McGregor to curl home from 20 yards.
Celtic were comfortable thereafter, although Zaluska saved late on from Forshaw to secure the win.