Celtic need historic win to progress in Europe

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The Independent Football

Tony Mowbray insists that his Celtic players are well aware of the importance of beating Dynamo Moscow in their Champions League third qualifying round match tonight.

The Hoops are 1-0 down from the first leg at Celtic Park last week and have not won away in Europe since they beat MTK Hungaria in Hungary six years ago. Added to that discouraging statistic is the fact that the Parkhead club have never recovered a European tie after losing the first game at home.

With anything up to £12m to be made from reaching the group stages, which would need to be achieved following another qualifying round, the pressure is on Celtic to defy the odds. Their manager, though, is looking for his players to use their Champions League experience to make history. He said: "The players have more experience of the Champions League than I have, they have been there in the last few years. But we are all fully aware of how important it is to the football club and the supporters.

"It doesn't need reinforcing to the players. We had some relative success over the last few years, getting through to the last 16 twice. So it is something that we would like to emulate. We are here to overcome Dynamo in a difficult tie. It goes without saying that the Champions League, if you get to the group stages, brings finances with it which helps every team. Finance helps build a team quicker, because you can bring in good players.

"Am I under more pressure? No, not really. I'm five weeks into the job and I'm here to build a team for today, yes, but also for tomorrow and I'm very confident that over the period we will build a team that will compete year-in, year-out in the Champions League."

Mowbray, however, is hoping no snap judgments will be made in the event of their European exit. "The easier way for us to get to the group stages is to win the SPL this season and not have to go through so many qualifying rounds," the former West Bromwich manager said. "There is a potential advantage for them because they are 16 games into their campaign, but there are no excuses.

"We have had a very tough pre-season but a decent one and we will hopefully give a good account of ourselves. The mindset of the players is positive. We took enough encouragement from the first game to make me believe we can cause them problems."

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