Mowbray ready for Europa League opener

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Celtic manager Tony Mowbray is looking to Russia for inspiration as his side prepare to take on Hapoel Tel Aviv in their Europa League opener at the Bloomfield stadium on Thursday night.

The Hoops dropped into the revamped second-tier European club competition after being knocked out at the Champions League play-off stage 5-1 on aggregate by Arsenal. However, in the preceding qualifier, the Parkhead men overturned a 1-0 home defeat by Dinamo Moscow with an impressive 2-0 win in the return game in Russia.

"A repeat of the win in Russia would be nice," the Parkhead boss said. "The team have shown that they can be disciplined away from home in Europe."

He added: "Even against Arsenal at the Emirates, for long, long spells we were very much in that game.

"But in Moscow, we were very controlled and patient and we got the goals at great times and we will be looking to do something similar.

"But every game is different, it throws up different challenges and I'm sure there will be more challenges."

Mowbray, who admitted concerns about UEFA's experiment with two extra officials, one behind each goal, gave due respect to Hapoel.

"I know enough about them," the former Hibernian boss said. "I have seen them on DVDs and they play expansive football in a style that I appreciate.

"They look a technical team with talented individuals, players who could comfortably play in England or Scotland.

"So I know it will be a hard game."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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