Neil Lennon has named his greatest ever game – Celtic's remarkable 2-1 UEFA Champions League group-stage win over that Barcelona team back in 2012.

Given the Irishman played for Celtic between 2000 and 2007, his choice may come as a surprise – given the fact he turned out against some of Europe's best, including Juventus, AC Milan, Ajax and indeed Barcelona – but that night at Paradise was undoubtedly one to remember nevertheless.

Lennon was in the throes of his first spell as manager of Celtic at that time, drawn in the group-stages of Europe's top competition against Barca, Benfica and Spartak Moscow.

Having narrowly missed out on a draw in Spain two weeks prior – when Jordi Alba scored three minutes into second half stoppage time – Celtic hosted the Catalan giants filled with pride, if not confidence.

On the 125th birthday of the club, a stadium-wide tifo set the tone ahead of kick-off, before something magical happened over the course of 90 minutes.

"I was the manager of the team, and even though I'd been a player and had played in some great games, this one stands out above all the rest because of the significance of it, the occasion, the club's birthday, and, of course, the team that we were playing," Lennon told Celtic TV in an exclusive interview.

"There's always been a great relationship with Celtic and Barcelona over the years, but there was no doubt that this was the best club side in the world, with the best player in the world in Messi.

"Two weeks earlier, we'd lost 2-1 in the Nou Camp in the 93rd minute, and the players had come in pretty deflated after the game. But they'd shown me that they could compete with this team."

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On the night, however, captain Scott Brown missed out, as did the likes of Gary Hooper and James Forrest. Despite seeing little of the ball during the first half, Victor Wanyama found the net after heading home an inch-perfect Charlie Mulgrew corner to put the home side ahead.

Lennon added: "We'd built this team over a number of years. We had great legs and great athletes in the team, and some really good footballers. We'd already put in a landmark result previously in the group, when we'd won 3-2 against Spartak Moscow – so there was belief that we could do something that season."

When an 18-year-old Tony Watt doubled Celtic's lead with seven minutes of normal time remaining, Celtic Park erupted. Lionel Messi pulled one back for the visitors inside stoppage time, but Lennon's men held on to secure a historic victory.

Had it not been for the late Alba goal at the Nou Camp, Celtic would have topped their group that season, which is a remarkable thought in itself.