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Thursday 14 December 2017

Celtic relishing Europa tussle with Salzburg

Ronny Delia
Ronny Delia

Ronny Deila believes the rigours of the Scottish Premiership stands his Celtic side in good stead for their crucial Europa League clash with Salzburg tonight.

A win against the already-qualified Group D leaders at Parkhead will see the Hoops into the last-32 of the competition, although if Dinamo Zagreb fail to beat point-less Romanian outfit Astra, the Scottish champions qualify regardless.

Deila (pictured right) is impressed by the Austrian side who are two points clear of second-placed Celtic after four games including a 2-2 draw when the two teams met in their section opener in September.

However, the Norwegian boss insists his team plays against the same style of football domestically on a weekly basis.

"There have been a lot of big games this season but this is important because if we win we go top of the group and go through," said Deila, who will have skipper Scott Brown back from suspension although ineligible striker John Guidetti steps down again.

"It is a good game as well. We are going to meet a very good opponent and we will be tested at the highest level.

"They are very different from a lot of the other teams we have met.

"They are very aggressive, intense with their pressure and direct in their play.

"We have to cope with that but we are quite used to that in the Scottish league, it is also a direct league with intensity.

"So it is a game that will suit us and we saw that when we played them away we can handle it.

"If we win the game we are in the position we want to be so we are really up for the game.

"There was a lot of energy in the training so I am looking forward to it."

Deila believes Salzburg are a match for any team they have played in Europe this season including Legia Warsaw who knocked Celtic out of the Champions League qualifiers before the Hoops were reinstated due to an administration error made by the Polish club.

However, he does not believe Adolf Hutter will change his side's approach to the match just because they already through to the knock-out stages.

He said: "I think they are the best. Maybe Legia Warsaw, it is very hard to say, we have met good opponents in Europe but Salzburg have had some good results and been at a high level for a couple of years.

"They work hard together, they run a lot and it is hard to get your own passing going. But I don't think they will approach it any differently. It is clear to us what we are going to meet so we just have to be up for it."

Celtic had keeper Craig Gordon to thank for the draw in Salzburg but Deila is hoping he will not be a Hoops' hero again.

The former Stromsgodset manager said: "I hope he is not going to be so important this time. He has been fantastic the whole season, he is a great goalkeeper."

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