Collins believes draw in Hamburg can rouse Celtic

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The Independent Online

Former Celtic midfielder John Collins admits the chances of Europa League progress for the Hoops are slim, but he believes even a draw in Hamburg tomorrow could turn their campaign around.

Celtic sit bottom of their group with one point from three games against Hapoel Tel Aviv, Rapid Vienna and Hamburg.

Tony Mowbray's side lie five points behind Hapoel and the Germans, who won 1-0 in Glasgow last month, and Collins admits Celtic have a tough task in Hamburg.

But he feels his old club would fancy their chances of winning their final two games, against Hapoel at Parkhead and in Vienna, were they to upset the odds in Germany.

"The chances are pretty slim," said Collins. "They have to get a result at Hamburg, whether it's a draw or a win. But if they can get a result there, then they are more than capable of winning the final two games."

Celtic were sloppy in possession in the home tie but they still created the three best chances of the first half before Marcus Berg's clinical finish put the visitors firmly in control midway through the second period.

"Everybody who watched the Hamburg tie will realise they're a very, very good team," Collins added.

"For Celtic to get the three points they will have to play fantastically well. Any chance that comes they will have to take it. Hamburg are favourites but if Celtic can get that first goal, then you never know."

The European campaign has thus far been a frustrating one for Mowbray, whose side threw away a commanding 1-0 half-time lead in Israel to suffer a last-gasp defeat in their opening game following a casual second-half display.

Celtic then missed several good chances after recovering from the loss of a soft early goal against Rapid at Parkhead.

"The last couple of games they have played better," Collins said.

"They created chances against Hamburg, unfortunately the strikers never had their shooting boots on.

"At that level against top teams you have got to take your opportunities," he added.

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