AEK ATHENS boss Marinos Ouzounidis praised Brendan Rodgers, but believes his team will “deal with Celtic” as they prepare for their Champions League third round qualifiers.

The Greek coach has already studied the Scottish title-holders and is convinced they are ready for the first leg at Parkhead on Wednesday and the return a week later.

With the Greek season yet to kick off, AEK warmed up for the Hoops challenge by beating Galatasaray 3-2 in a friendly this week.

Ouzounidis said: “I always expected Celtic to get through against Rosenborg, so it comes as no surprise they made it.

“We have studied a lot of footage of Celtic. They are obviously a good side who get into the group stages, but we certainly think it is possible to beat them.

“At the moment, we are not as sharp as we could be because we have not played a competitive match and that’s a disadvantage to us.

“I think Celtic have really improved in the past couple of years because of their manager Brendan Rodgers. He is a very good coach.

“But we are ready to deal with them.

“We were always going to have play good teams to get through to the group stage and Celtic are just another challenge for us.”

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