CHARLIE MULGREW insists Celtic must show a step up in standards when they take on Azerbaijan side Qarabag in the Champions League third qualifying round on Wednesday.

The Hoops comfortably saw off Icelandic outfit FC Stjarnan 6-1 on aggregate, but the stand-in skipper is aware the team face a stiffer examination from the Baku-based side.

Mulgrew said: “It was good to play the other night and get a goal and an assist, but the most important thing was that we won. I enjoyed the game.

“It was always going to be a challenge as all the expectation was on us to go and win 7-0, but it’s never as easy as that, as we had it all to lose and nothing really to gain.

“However, it was about getting fitness and playing the best we could. We were delighted to come through with the win and scoring so many goals.

“We need to do a lot better and we know we can play a lot better. It will be more difficult in the next round and we have to be up for the game and be ready for it.

“I don’t know a lot about them but we know they will be decent.

“We know what these games are like. We have been to Kazakhstan and for Qarabag to have got through to this round means they must be decent so it’s up to us to be prepared for that.

“We know it’s going to be difficult, but you have to get on with it and getting your head round it and being prepared when it comes along.

“Their crowd will get behind them and we probably won’t have a lot of fans going over there as it’s so far away. Everything is really against you, but we know what it’s going to be like and when it comes around, it’s up to us to face up to it.

”I’m sure the manager will have us prepared in training and will have watched footage of them. We will know what they’re like when the time comes around and aware of how much a step-up it’s going to be.

”It’s been said a lot in the past about how much the fans help us on European nights and, hopefully, they can get behind us again and really push us over the line.”

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