John Collins insists Celtic can adapt to controversial pitch in Baku

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Celtic's assistant manager John Collins believes that his side can overcome any threat of elimination in Azerbaijan on Wednesday night's Champions League qualifier with Qarabag.

There has been growing concerns over the state of the pitch in Baku, with the heat reportedly damaging areas of the surface inside the Tofiq Bahramov Stadium.

Pitch Surface

Speaking to BBC Sport he said, "(There's a) little concern at the moment but we'll go over it and we'll train on it and we'll check how it is".


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"At this level you expect the pitch to be of a good standard but if it isn't we'll just have to adapt our play". "We got a phone call from security - they're over there and they say it's not looking good."I don't think the game's going to be in doubt. The pitch is going to be in - shall we say - not such a good state. Obviously they've had extremely warm temperatures".

However, work to improve the surface of the pitch will be ongoing from now until kick-off at 5.30pm on Wednesday.

Many were worried that the game would have to be postponed until the pitch was in better working condition. These anxious concerns have been laid to rest though, as Uefa issued a statement earlier saying, "There are no plans to change the venue and the match is scheduled to go ahead as planned."

Switch of tactics

Collins, and manager Ronny Deila, both admitted Qarabag played good football at Celtic Park in last weeks first-leg tie, however they did admit that perhaps Celtic's height did, (and would) play a massive part in the outcome of the qualifier. 

Celtic's assistant, is adamant Celtic have enough to bypass the team from the Far-East, and thinks it may even work to his side's advantage. 

"We got a phone call from security - they're over there and they say it's not looking good.

"They're a footballing team that likes to pass the ball on the grass so it will affect them as much as it will affect us."It's not ideal, but that's football. You've got to be adaptable."

A club legend himself, the current assistant knows all too well the price of failure, especially into the Champions League group stage.

The money in which the club would recieve would allow more spending, whilst also allowing them to hold onto certain squad members - mainly Virgil Van Djik.

So with a play-off place into European football's main attraction within touching distance, Celtic can have no time for pitch complaints in the searing heat of Baku.

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