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Football: Celtic will bounce back against Maribor, says Deila

Celtic manager Ronny Deila insists his players will have no problems bouncing back from their weekend disappointment as they prepare to welcome Maribor to Glasgow for their crucial Champions League tie.

GLASGOW: Celtic manager Ronny Deila insists his players will have no problems bouncing back from their weekend disappointment as they prepare to welcome Maribor to Glasgow for their crucial Champions League tie.

The Slovenian champions are the visitors to Celtic Park on Tuesday (Aug 26) with their play-off tie evenly balanced after the first leg finished in a 1-1 draw last week. The Hoops lost 1-0 to Inverness Caledonian Thistle in their Scottish Premiership clash on Saturday after Deila made 10 changes to his side in order to offer some first team stars a rest.

However, the Celtic manager expects his side to give a much better account of themselves against Maribor as they look to clinch a place in the group stage of Europe's elite competition for the third consecutive season. "We could have been more effective in the first half against Inverness and our performance could have been better. There were a lot of changes to the team and it didn't work out the way I wanted it to," Deila said. "The players will have no problem picking themselves up. We have a new game now and we are going to bounce back on Tuesday."

One of the players who could help fire Celtic past Maribor and into the group stage of the Champions League is striker Jo Inge Berget. The Norwegian joined the Hoops on loan from Cardiff in the summer and he says one of the main attractions of coming to Glasgow was the prospect of playing European football. "We had a good result away and now it's up to us to the job at home," Berget, who scored a double in his home debut against Dundee United, said.

IT'S A DREAM

"It's a big opportunity to play in the Champions League and every footballer wants to do that. It's a big deal for any player. Of course I'm dreaming about it. I've done that since I was a kid and hopefully we can go through. It's a dream for all footballers to play in the Champions League. All players watch the tournament when it's on, and so that's where you want to play, and face the best players in the world. My first game at Celtic Park went very well for me and the team and hopefully it will be the same on Tuesday."

Meanwhile, a convincing weekend win has made Maribor more confident they can pull off a shock result in Glasgow and book their own place in the group stage. A 3-0 defeat of Zavrc lifted Maribor up to second in the Slovenian league and striker Jean-Philippe Mendy, who grabbed his first goal of the season in the match, is optimistic about his side's chances.

"We have achieved an important victory just before the journey to Glasgow," the French striker said. "Before us is a big game and, with this win, we are only getting stronger, more confident. Scottish football is similar to England - the game is hard, relentless and we must be prepared for a physically demanding fight. I love these matches. Qualifying for the Champions League is a big challenge, but we'll do all we can to achieve that objective.

"We know what awaits us and what we need. In Glasgow, it will be crucial to take advantage of the opportunities that we have. We are ready for a big fight and we go there with confidence in their own abilities."

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