Wednesday 17 July 2019

'Hoops must avoid slip-up in Sarajevo' - says Hayes on Euro opener

Celtic manager Neil Lennon. Photo: Stuart Wallace/Pool via Reuters
Celtic manager Neil Lennon. Photo: Stuart Wallace/Pool via Reuters

Aidan Fitzmaurice

Ireland international Jonny Hayes insists Celtic will do all they can to avoid a Champions League slip-up in Bosnia tonight.

With Irish youth cap Luca Connell included in their squad for his possible debut, the Bhoys face FK Sarajevo away in the first leg of their first qualifying round tie.

"At Celtic we are expected to win every game no matter what," says Dubliner Hayes.

"But, as with previous European and domestic games, we'll have our homework done. The lads behind the scenes have watched them many times already. We will be fully aware of Sarejevo's qualities by the time of the match. European games are always tough.Once you get to that level there are no easy games."

Hayes is likely to play at left-back tonight as Kieran Tierney, a £15m target for Arsenal, is not fit.

Hoops boss Neil Lennon, meanwhile, will speak to Olivier Ntcham about his "mindset" when he returns to the Parkhead club.

The 23-year-old French midfielder was quoted as saying he was disappointed not to have moved to Porto last season, while admitting he was flattered about speculation linking him with Marseille.

Ntcham, who joined Celtic in 2017 from Manchester City, also claimed Scottish football was not challenging enough, saying: "We can do as many matches as we want, but, with all due respect for my opponents, if the level in front is not high, you do not progress."

Ntcham has been on international duty with France's U-21s at the European Championships, but Lennon said: "That will be addressed when Olivier comes back."

Celtic v Sarajevo Live Premier Sports 1, 6.45

Irish Independent

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