Wednesday 26 October 2016

Celtic aim to avoid a be'er fest

Celtic strikers Scott Sinclair and Leigh Griffiths celebrate in Saturday’s Premiership win over St Johnstone
Celtic strikers Scott Sinclair and Leigh Griffiths celebrate in Saturday’s Premiership win over St Johnstone

Celtic assistant manager Chris Davies insists complacency will not be an issue in tomorrow night's Champions League play-off tie against Hapoel Be'er Sheva in Israel.

The Hoops have a commanding 5-2 lead from the first leg at Parkhead and warmed up for the trip to the Turner Stadium with a 4-2 win over St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park in the Ladbrokes Premiership on Saturday.

Boss Brendan Rodgers played a strong team in Perth to keep momentum going and Davies, speaking at Glasgow Airport before the Celtic party flew out, stressed that after getting past Lincoln Red Imps and FC Astana in the qualifiers, the Hoops squad are fully focused on the task ahead.

"There will be no issues of complacency with us," he said. "We have been very clear with the message with the players.

"The players are very focused, you can see the focus is there.

"Yesterday we had an opportunity where we could possibly have rotated some players but we didn't, we chose to keep them in, win the game and keep the winning mentality.

"And from what we have seen from the players led by Scott Brown the captain, who is a real colossal figure for the team, there will be no issues of complacency with us, we know what we have to do.

"It is about being in control defensively but having an attacking threat, which we have shown we have got in all the games.

"The mentality in our approach is that it is half-time, just as we said when we came back from some difficult first legs and took the teams back to Celtic Park.

"That's what it is, we are 5-2 up but it is half-time.

"We have to perform with and without the ball, defensively have control, offensively have a threat and hopefully we can have a result in the end."

The Parkhead club are on the cusp of making the group stage for the first time in three seasons which, according to Davies, would be just reward for the work put in this season.

He said: "We are all very focused, the club deserves it, the fans deserve it, the players deserve it.

"Everybody has been working very hard and we have a big job to go away and get the result that we all so desperately want."

Celtic were given a boost with Patrick Roberts joining the travelling squad after recovering from a hamstring injury and the winger has a chance of featuring. Davies said: "He is obviously coming back from injury. He has had a few days training so it is a possibility."

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