FILIP BENKOVIC insists Celtic will IGNORE the one point required against RB Salzburg at Parkhead tonight to guarantee a place in the Europa League knock-out stages after the turn of the year.
Instead, the on-loan Croatian central defender believes Brendan Rodgers’ side will go all out for a victory against the Austrians who have already qualified with a 100 per cent record after five games.
The Hoops took a surprise lead in the game in Salzburg when Odsonne Edouard netted in only two minutes and the £10million Frenchman had another effort ruled out – correctly – for offside before the interval.
However, the roof fell in on the Scottish champions in the second-half as they conceded three goals – one a penalty-kick – and had winger James Forrest red-carded.
Back-to-back wins over RB Leipzig (2-1) and Rosenborg (1-0) mean only a draw is required this evening under the floodlights in the east end of Glasgow to make certain of a last-32 place.
CELEBRATIONS…Filip Benkovic enjoys Celtic’s 1-0 Hampden success over Aberdeen along with team-mates Leigh Griffiths, Scott Sinclair and Callum McGregor. Pic: Geo.
Benkovic, 21, said: “We are a team who plays attacking football most of the time, so we will do the same in this game, as well. It’s not good to only go for a point.
“This is not our mentality. We want to take three points. For 90 minutes, we must be behind each other.
“We know how they are a good team with good players. We must focus more than 100 per cent for this game and we must believe that we can take a positive result.
“They are doing very well this season and in the Europa League, too.
“Their results are down to their team spirit and they play very well like a team. We must play for each other.
“We’ll need to be patient and believe that we can get a good result.”
With Belgian international Dedryck Boyata still struggling with the hamstring injury sustained in the 1-0 Betfred League Cup Final triumph over Aberdeen, Benkovic is likely to be partnered by his fellow-countryman and former Dinamo Zagreb team-mate Jozo Simunovic tonight.
* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report on Celtic’s crucial Europa League Group B encounter tonight in your champion CQN.