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‘ZENIT ARE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUALITY,’ DAVIES

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CELTIC assistant boss Chris Davies reckons Europa rivals Zenit St Petersburg are Champions League quality.

The Hoops are preparing for the visit of the Russians on Thursday night at Parkhead for their last-32 confrontation.

Roberto Mancini’s outfit topped their Europa League section with five wins and a draw while they lead the tournament’s scoring charts.

Brendan Rodgers’ No.2 said: “What’s important to acknowledge is the level of the opponent we’re about to face.

“Having analysed them and watched them for a few months now, we know they are individually and collectively a top team – a Champions League-level team with quality.

“We have to recognise that, respect that and be prepared for that.

“With the quality they have, they’re good in possession but also good on the counter-attack and can be a threat on set-plays. Top teams can do all three of those and they have shown they’re just that in the games I’ve seen.

“They were the top scorers in the Europa League with 17 goals in six games, so they’re scoring nearly three goals a game and conceding less than one on average. These numbers tell you a story as well.

“We respect them, but we also see it as an opportunity and, hopefully, we’re going to take a lot of positivity and energy into the game and see what happens.”

Davies added: “They’re one of the better teams left in the tournament.

“There are some really good teams still involved and they’re right up there.

“We’ve got a plan for the match and, if we can execute it, we’ll give ourselves a chance.

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