Celtic hope home fervour can overturn Braga's three-goal lead

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The Independent Football

Celtic midfielder Ki Sung-yueng claims his team can "smash" Sporting Braga at Parkhead tonight, despite losing 3-0 in Portugal last week.

The South Korea international has warned Braga they are in for a shock when they face the atmosphere of a Champions League night at Celtic Park. Ki's confidence mirrored the attitude of team-mate Gary Hooper, who predicted a 4-0 victory for Celtic if they can get an early goal.

A controversial hand-ball decision against the Korean allowed Osario Alan to put Braga ahead in the first leg of the third qualifying round tie and Celtic's hopes of making the play-off round suffered a huge blow when they conceded two late goals from set-pieces.

"What we did in Portugal wasn't good enough and I gave away a silly penalty kick," Ki said. "But this (game) will be different because we'll have 60,000 people in front of us. If we play the way we just did in training, I think we can smash them."

Ki's bravado was fuelled by Celtic's displays in the Emirates Cup on the weekend, when they fought back for a 2-2 draw against Lyon before launching another less successful comeback in a 3-2 loss to Arsenal.

"The cup gave all the players a lot of confidence," the 21-year-old said. "We played one of the best teams in the world and we played a great game. It showed to everyone that we are good enough to beat Braga.

"It will be totally different to Portugal because they have never experienced the kind of fans at Celtic. The fans are really amazing.

"Every time we tackle, we will get the ball and attack in front of a lot of people. So I think they will be surprised and afraid. They are quite skilful and the organisation of the team was good. But I don't think they are very powerful or fast."

While Celtic pushed Arsenal in the final quarter, their defensive fragility had already been exposed. However, Ki believes Celtic will learn from the mistakes made in Portugal.

"It was the first game of the season," he said. "So we don't care about this, we will be much better than this throughout the season. We know we made mistakes but the game has gone. We can score a lot of goals. What we did against Lyon and Arsenal was really fantastic."