KOLO TOURE has warned of the pitfalls of believing the £20million-plus Champions League windfall is already in bank.
The 35-year-old central defender played his part as Celtic overwhelmed Hapoel Be’er Sheva 5-2 in the first leg of the money-spinning first leg play-off in Glasgow last week.
Brendan Rodgers’ side are now massive favourites to complete the job in Israel tomorrow night after two years of failure under Ronny Deila.
But Toure cautioned: “It is dangerous to think that you are there. This is only half-time.
“We have to be prepared to battle, to fight, to give everything. This is where the club wants to be and to get there we are going to have to give it our all.
“The most important thing is that we stay together.
“This is a process. And it takes time, but you can see that we are already getting better and there is a very strong mentality about this team.
“We are always pushing to win – we want to win all the time. We are a team. If we play as a team and work as a team then we will win as a team. We won the first battle, but we are ready to go again.”
The Hoops have conceded four goals in their last two games to the Israeli champions and St Johnstone with the veteran Ivory Coast international and rookie Eoghan O’Connell in the middle of the rearguard.
But Toure said: “It is quite a young defence – apart from me, of course – and I enjoy trying to talk them through the game.
“There are some young guys playing beside me, but I love that.
“Part of the reason I came here is to help them get better. They are very talented boys. They will get better, especially when they are playing at this level. It is the best experience that you can get.”
The former Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool stalwart added: “What is most important, though, is that we defend together.
“And that is not just the guys who are playing at the back, but the entire team.
“When we don’t have the ball, we have to work to get it back, we have to work to close down the spaces and make sure that we are sensible when we do have it.
“We pass the ball together and we want to defend as a team. We have talented players attacking, but the key to defending is being together.
“I know that we need to improve defensively, but you will see that we can do that. We will get stronger and better the more that we understand each other.
“Right now, though, I don’t want to think about anything other than this game.
“We know how important it is and we want to make sure that we do it right and give everything. But we are ready.”