Midfielder Nir Bitton is adamant Celtic cannot use Qarabag’s dreadful playing surface as an excuse for Champions League failure tomorrow night.
The pitch at the Tofiq Bahramov Stadium has been heavily criticised in recent days, but UEFA insist the second leg third round qualifying tie will go ahead with the Hoops leading 1-0 after last wee’ks first game in Glasgow.
Bitton is hoping to recover from an ankle knock in time for the intriguing encounter and said: “There are no excuses for us. We just need to go through and to do that we need to play our game.
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“We will be playing in the same conditions as Qarabag. The most important thing for us is that we keep the clean sheet that we need to go through. If we play as a team defensively, then we can do that. It’s about working hard as a team, and if we do not lose a goal, everything will be good.”
Bitton believes everyone is going to suffer in the hot conditions that await the team in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku.
He said: “I used to play in this heat. It’s been two years now that I have been in Scotland, so that experience is all gone!
“No, it doesn’t matter how much you are used to playing in temperatures like this, it’s difficult when it’s 35 degrees – especially for the Scottish guys. The foreigners will find it tough, also – it will be difficult for me – but, like I say, there are no excuses.
“The weather and the pitch condition do not matter. We just need to do our best and play in the way the gaffer wants us to play.”
By CQN Magazine.