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‘Celtic treated unfairly’

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JOHN COLLINS insists Celtic are being treated unfairly and do not deserve to play three Champions League qualifying rounds.

The Hoops assistant boss blames the UEFA seeding system as well as the other Scottish clubs who have flopped in Europe.

Celtic will discover on Monday who they face in mid-July in their first round of qualifiers. The likeliest teams Ronny Deila’s men will take on, in what is a regionalised draw, are Welsh champions The New Saints, Crusaders of Belfast, Dundalk or Icelandic outfit Stjarnan.

But Collins believes his team’s recent European record should mean they skip the preliminary rounds. He said: “I think it is a little bit unfair. Celtic, in the last decade, have done very well in Champions League qualifiers.

“I find it unfortunate that we have been held back by the coefficient points accumulated by the rest of the Scottish teams.

“We have kind of been punished for that, which is unfair when you consider some of the special nights Celtic have had in the Champions League. I don’t think it’s a fair system.

“I think it should be a club system rather than a country system.

“I believe 100% it’s not fair and maybe in the future that’s a discussion which can be had with UEFA and that can be changed.

“It benefits the bigger countries which I don’t think is fair.”

Collins admitted he has not read up on who Celtic might get, but from the moment the players return for pre-season training next week, all his focus will be getting the club into what he calls the best football competition of them all.

Collins added: “The Champions League is the ultimate football tournament. In my opinion, it’s even better than the World Cup.

“It’s where everybody wants to be as a player, as a coach, as a manager and the supporters.

“It’s a fantastic tournament with the best teams in Europe. Every television camera is focused on it and that’s where we would love to be.

“I think it’s pretty straightforward. The teams in the Champions League are world selects. The Champions League teams are better than national teams.

“Real Madrid are a world select. Barcelona are a world select. They would beat Brazil because they have the best Brazilians and they have the best Argentinians.

“The reality is that the top Champions League teams are the best in the world.”

 
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