Celtic paired with Rangers Champions League conquerer's Malmo

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After defeating Qarabag midweek, Scottish champions Celtic face a play-off tie with Swedish side Malmo, in their quest for Champions League football this season.

Ronny Deila's troops earned a 0-0 draw in Baku on Wednesday night, with a Dedryck Boyata first-leg header enough to see them through on aggregate. 


Amongst the possible opponent's that awaited Celtic in Nyon this morning were; Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel), Partizan Belgrade (Serbia), Malmo (Sweden), Skenderbeu Korce (Albania) and FC Astana (Kazakhstan). 


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However, it now appears that Ronny Deila will take his side to the part of the world from which he hails - with Sweden being one of the Nordic country's.

This will be a huge relief for the manager, and assistant, John Collins, as both feared another globe-trotting adventure, due to some far-out places available in the draw.

Collins, speaking to the Daily Mail said:  ''It's a good draw from a travelling point of view - it's not too far. The journeys could have been tougher. All the teams we could have played, I'm sure are all very good teams. We have had a long journey there and it was successful but I think you always prefer a shorter journey".

Whilst drawing Malmo is good from a travelling perspective, Collins is in no doubt that Celtic have a game on their hands. "What I do know is they must be good to beat Salzburg 3-0. We played Salzburg last year and they were a very good football team - fit, organised, high tempo".

The ex-Hibs manager continued, "They have turned a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 lead, so they have obviously proved they can cope with pressure. When you are 2-0 down from the first leg and turn it round, it tells you there is a bit of spirit and a bit of belief in their team".

Celtic, undoubtedly, will have to be close to their best as humanly possible to overcome this Malmo side, a side that is already well into their season. If unsure, Celtic's playing, and management staff need look no further than four years ago when Ally McCoist's Rangers were put to the sword by the Swedes, a game which cost them very dearly financially.

That same Malmo team then annihilated Hibernian's Europa League ambitions a couple of years afterwards, handing out a 7-0 thumping at Easter Road in a qualification bout, a staggering 9-0 aggregate score overall.

In short, one team stand's between Celtic and the ever elusive Champions League group stages, but nevertheless, one that can be beaten over a two-legged affair.

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