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Celtic's fans can cheer us to shock win: Jos Hooiveld

Jos Hooiveld has urged Celtic's fans to will them on to an unlikely comeback against Braga in tomorrow night’s crucial Champions League qualifier at Parkhead.

A shoddy defensive performance in Portugal last week left the Bhoys' hopes of staying in Europe's premier club competition hanging by a thread.

Three sloppy goals allowed Braga to take a 3-0 lead into the second leg of the third-qualifying-round tie in Glasgow.

His team may have a mountain to climb to reach the play-off round, but the Dutch defender Hooiveld is confident the visitors will wilt under the pressure of playing in front of a packed house at Parkhead.

“I hope it will be an amazing atmosphere with 60,000 crazy Celtic fans screaming at them on Wednesday,” says Hooiveld.

“I think they aren't used to that kind of atmosphere.

“If you look at their attendance for the first leg it was much smaller than what it will be on Wednesday and I think we can 'put the fire at their shins', as we say in Holland. They could be our 12th, 13th and 14th man for sure.”

Bhoys boss Neil Lennon has admitted his side will have to improve at defending set-pieces after slack marking led to their heavy defeat in Portugal last week.

Celtic's defensive frailties were exposed once again this weekend at the Emirates Cup, where they conceded three goals against Arsenal and two against Lyon.

Artur Boruc's replacement, Lukasz Zaluska, looked shaky between the posts, while poor marking gifted Arsenal two of their three goals in yesterday's defeat.

Hooiveld is convinced Celtic do not have an issue with dealing with set-plays, however.

“I don't think it's a problem for us,” he said. “We couldn't stop the penalty or the free-kick in Braga but we should've stopped the other goal.

“I don't think it's a big problem. Last year it wasn't. People are concerned but we aren't.”

One player who will not be starting tomorrow night is star winger Aiden McGeady.

Lennon claimed the Republic of Ireland international has an injury but the former Hoops' youth player is reportedly flying to Russia today to meet with with Spartak Moscow, who having reportedly made a bid of around £9.5million for him.

Barclays Premier League sides Tottenham and Aston Villa are said to be interested in the 24-year-old as well.

Whilst acknowledging McGeady is an important player, Hooiveld believes the Bhoys would be able to cope without him if he left.

“He is a huge player for Celtic,” said Hooiveld. “If you cross the street with him then there's no chance that you'll be noticed because everyone knows him.

“He's a great player, but we do have back-up for him.”

Belfast Telegraph


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