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A game Celtic simply must win

Tony Mowbray insists his Celtic players are well aware of the importance of beating Dinamo Moscow in their Champions League third qualifying round clash tomorrow night.

The Hoops are 1-0 down from the first leg at Celtic Park last week and have not won away in Europe since they beat MTK Hungaria in Hungary six years ago.

Added to that discouraging statistic is the fact that the Parkhead club have never recovered a European tie after losing the first game at home.

With anything up to £12million to be made from reaching the group stages, which would need to be achieved following another qualifying round, the pressure is on the Parkhead club to defy the odds.

The Celtic boss, though, is looking for his players to use their Champions League experience to make history.

He said: “The players have more experience of the Champions League than I have, they have been there in the last few years.

“But we are all fully aware of how important it is to the football club and the supporters.

“It doesn't need reinforcing to the players.

“We had some relative success over the last few years, getting through to the last 16 twice.

“So it is something that we would like to emulate.

“We are here to overcome Dinamo in a difficult tie

“It goes without saying that the Champions League, if you get to the group stages, brings finances with it which helps every team.

“Finance helps build a team quicker, because you could bring in good players.

“Am I under more pressure? No, not really.

“I'm five weeks in to the job and I'm here to build a team for today, yes, but also for tomorrow and I'm very confident that over the period we will build a team that will compete year-in, year-out in the Champions League in the latter stages hopefully and that has got to be the goal.”

Mowbray, however, is hoping no snap judgments will be made in the event of their European exit.

“The easier way for us to get to the group stages is to win the SPL this season and not have to go through so many qualifying rounds,” the former West Brom boss said.

“But it is the bigger picture that you have to look at, you can't expect to change everything within four or five weeks.

“There is a potential advantage for them because they are 16 games into their campaign but there are no excuses.

“We have had a very tough pre-season but a decent one and we will hopefully give a good account of ourselves.

“The mind-set of the players is positive. We took enough encouragement from the first game to make me believe we can cause them problems.”

Gary Caldwell insists the Celtic players are more interested in getting to the group stage than making history.

The Celtic defender said: “We understand that it's a big game.

“You have that the feeling in your stomach.

“It would be big for us to get through but I don't think it's about making history, it's about getting through this stage of the competition and trying to qualify for the Champions League.

“We have been there in previous seasons and we know how good a competition it is and we really want to be here again this season. Our attitude will be the same as it always is, we always try to win football matches.”

He also believes an extra week's training will make all the difference to the Parkhead side.

“I think we got caught cold in the first 20 minutes of the game at Parkhead,” the Scotland defender said.

“But we will be better equipped (tonight) .You will see a big improvement from us.”

Belfast Telegraph


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