STUART ARMSTRONG has urged his Celtic team-mates to turn up the heat on Qarabag in the Champions League qualifier at Parkhead this evening.
The smooth midfielder is determined to seize the advantage in the first leg tie ahead of next week’s 3000-mile trip to Azerbaijan.
Despite Charlie Mulgrew being sidelined through injury, Armstrong reckons the Hoops are in good shape and insists their mix of power, pace and possession has made them a force to be reckoned with in Europe.
He said: “I wouldn’t say we have to change our style completely. Perhaps it is more of a challenge coming up against different styles of play, but we play the same way – we press and move the ball quickly and focus on the same things we do well.
“We keep the ball well, we counter quite quickly at speed and we can be quite clinical.
“We don’t need to worry about the opposition too much. Obviously, we like to pinpoint a few things, but it’s about how we play and approach the game.
“We must make sure that, when the chances come, we take them.
“It’ll be important for us to get a good start and it will definitely give us an advantage going into the away leg.
“We’ve been building pre-season for these qualifiers to make sure we do well and have the best possible preparation for them. I think we are ready.”
Boss Ronny Deila has had his players watching individually-tailored footage of tonight’s opponents in a bid to have them well prepared for every eventuality over the two ties.
Armstrong added: “Different players are shown different clips from different areas. We know they are a good team. We’ve seen footage of them and they move the ball well and like to dominate possession, so it will be a bit of a step up.
“We’ve watched and picked out different things we need to be aware of and what we need to do to prepare.
“Every stage of the qualifiers is a challenge and Iceland’s Stjarnan had their threats. Qarabag will have their threats, too. It’s a case of taking each game as it comes and preparing properly for them.
“If you want to get to the group stages you have to beat these challenging and tough teams. You’ve got to earn your place in the group, so this is a test.”