Ronny Deila feels no fear as Celtic go into Champions League play-off

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Ronny Deila believes Celtic will not be paired with a tougher opponent than their third-round qualifying counterparts, Qarabag.

Celtic are through to the Champions League play-off round to battle it out for a spot in the glamourous group-stage. This comes after a stalemate in the suffocating conditions of Baku - a one goal advantage enough from the first-leg to grant the Hoops safe passage.


Before the game, many fans and pundits alike insisted it did not matter how they got there, but that in the end Celtic's name was in the hat for Friday's draw. Indeed, Deila's side done exactly that; playing out a somewhat boring and rather scrappy affair. 


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Both Celtic, and Qarabag tried to play a passing, patient build-up game, though the bumpy, uneven surface inside the Tofiq Bahramov Stadium, halted them at every turning point. Referee, Martin Strömbergsson, did let the game flow and once or twice refrained from reaching into his pocket after some tasty tackles.

However, the end result was the one that counted, regardless of how well Deila's side played.

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Celtic will now go into Friday's play-off draw as a seeded team, meaning they will avoid the likes of Manchester United, Bayer Leverkrusen and Basel. This is a welcome boost for boss Deila, who is adamant that his team will not face anyone of a higher quality than the one they overcome in tonight's scorcher. 

"We'll take what's coming and I don't think that team will be better than the team we met today," Deila told BBC Radio Scotland.

"It was a very good team effort. We defended very well. Offensively, we should've punished them more than we did.

"We have to understand that we met a very good team. Last year they beat Dnipro, who went to the final of the Europa League. They had good results against Inter Milan as well.

"It was a long game. I'm so proud of the team. They worked really, really hard and showed good discipline. So, this was a good, good performance."

The Celtic manager, whilst excited, cannot get carried away, as there are still a handful of decent side's that he could be pitted against. Avoiding the big guns may be a blessing but i'm sure the gaffer does not need reminded of Maribor and that particular fiasco.

Champions League football is essential at Celtic Park, and failure is, quite frankly - unacceptable.

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