AEK Athens v Celtic: ‘They are in a strong position but It’s far from over,’ McGregor

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CALLUM McGREGOR scored his usual European goal last night and knows that he’ll probably have to do the same again on Tuesday in Athens if Celtic are to see of AEK and reach the fourth round of the so called Champions League.

Respect to the Green Brigade who hit the nail on the head with their pre-match banner. It would be brilliant if the Champions of all European countries – out with the privileged few who claim almost all the Champions League places – 21 go to England, France, Spain, Italy, Germany and Russia – could display this banner at their grounds.

Send it round Europe Bhoys and Ghirls.

Anyway back to what Calmac was saying after his goalscoring performance last night.

“It’s always good to get goals, especially in the big games, so I was delighted to add to my tally.

“It would be massive to get another one over there. We know what we need to do to get through.

“If I get a chance I think I’ve showed I can finish it. It’s about being positive and on the front foot.

“And if a chance comes along hopefully I’ll stick it away. Obviously, we’re disappointed we didn’t win the game.

“Everybody looks from the outside and it’s against ten men for half an hour and we don’t break them down. It might have looked a bit flat.

“But I think the players in there need to stay positive. We need to believe we can go over there and get a result.

“So, ultimately, the mood is disappointment, but we’re fully aware and fully capable of going there to get a result.”

Having now had the chance to see AEK close up neither Brendan Rodgers – see HERE – or McGregor see too much to concern them for Tuesday. Both think Celtic can win in Athens, it will be interesting to see the odds at the bookies though – surely they will see it as advantage AEK? McGregor remains positive though.

“We were disappointed. When they went down to ten men you anticipate going on to score a few goals and winning the game.

“Credit to AEK though. They set out their stall and made it difficult. We had a few shots and crosses, but it never quite fell for us.

“We are still positive and upbeat. We created enough chances to think we can go over there and get a result.

“We expect more of the same. They are in a strong position, but you could see tonight we can create chances.

“We need to be defensively strong because we can’t afford to concede over there. But you could see we have enough to cause them problems.

“The standard goes up when you get through the rounds. You see it with the organisation and the standard of players.

“They didn’t have much in the game, but they got one chance and scored a goal. Teams are more ruthlessness when you go through the rounds.

“We need to defend better, but we are still positive. The tie is not over. We’ve shown in the last couple of years we can go away and score goals and get results.

“It’s about having the tactical awareness over there and then letting our attacking players cause them problems. It’s far from over.”

Celtic drew at home in the first leg against Rosenborg last season and then won the second leg and a repeat of that away win in now needed.

“You’ve seen over the past few seasons we’ve been tested and we’ve managed to come through, even in previous qualifying campaigns.

“We know how big a task it is. But we’ll definitely be ready for it.”

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