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CONFIDENT COLLINS

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JOHN COLLINS is confident an in-form Celtic have nothing to worry about in their Champions League second leg qualifier against Stjarnan in Iceland tomorrow night.
The Hoops assistant boss, with the four-in-a-row title winners two goals ahead, believes there will be no problems if they play to their potential.
Collins said: “We’re 2-0 up from the first leg, but we still have the return to play so we want to go there and play well and, obviously, win the match and qualify.

“It’s usually more difficult away from home, but we’re looking forward to it.

“Personally, the playing surface is no concern to me. Astroturf is no problem to a good football player with good skill and we’re a team full of technical players.

“To win 2-0 at home is a good score. We haven’t conceded and we’ll go there and look to score goals like we always do, but we’ll be compact when we don’t have the ball. However, we’ll go there and try to win.

“I think everybody knows what the Champions League means. It’s the biggest tournament in the world. Coaches, managers, players supporters – everybody attached to Celtic Football Club and Scottish football – wants to see Celtic progress to the group stages.

“That’s where we want to be, in with the big boys, but we have to earn the right to be there.”

The champions, of course, will started the league season without new boy Nadir Ciftci, who has been banned for six games after an incident at the end of last term.

Collins added that losing the hitman for the start of the campaign will be a blow, but insisted the player and the club were keen to get over it.
He said: “We’re disappointed for Nadir and ourselves, but the decision is made and we’ll just have to move on and wait on him coming back.
“It happened with his previous club. We knew the hearing was yesterday and we just had to wait for the result. The decision has been made. We move on, he moves on and we all learn from our mistakes and, hopefully, it won’t happen again.

“We don’t condone that type of behaviour. We want our players to be competitive, but within the laws of the game.

“I haven’t spoken to him, but he’ll be focused and looking forward to tomorrow’s game.

“He won’t be available in the early league games, but he will be fresh for the European games so for every negative there’s a positive.”

 
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