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Samaras raring to go for Celtic's Barca clash

By Ronnie Esplin

Kilmarnock 2 Celtic 5: Georgios Samaras scored his first hat-trick in three years to help Celtic to a comfortable 5-2 victory over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on Saturday, but insists neither he nor the Hoops needed the added confidence to face Barcelona tomorrow night.

The Greece striker's performance in the Scottish Premiership win over Killie was described as "world-class" by manager Neil Lennon.

Samaras (28) was reluctant to accept his coach's accolade and claimed there was no need for a boost ahead of the Group H clash with the Catalan giants, who will be without Lionel Messi after he limped off out of Saturday night's 2-0 win over Almeria with a thigh injury after scoring his side's opener.

The former Manchester City forward said: "You cannot compare the two games and say that because we won against Kilmarnock, confidence will be high. Confidence is always high.

"We always believe in the ourselves and our team. I feel good within myself. I don't need any confidence."

Celtic famously beat Barcelona 2-1 in the group stages last season on their way to the last-16 but lost 2-0 to AC Milan in their opening game of this season's campaign at San Siro.

"We will go and enjoy it," Samaras said. "We were a bit unlucky in that game against AC Milan, we didn't take our chances.

"I don't think we will have so many chances against Barcelona so we need to be more clinical."

Celtic looked in complete control against Kilmarnock on Saturday, racing into a 3-0 lead with goals from Kris Commons and two from Samaras. However, Kilmarnock midfielder Sammy Clingan reduced the deficit and defender Sean Clohessy made it 3-2 just before the break.

But Samaras and Amido Balde secured the win for the Hoops with goals in the second half.

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