Pressure still on, insists Strachan

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The Independent Football

The Celtic manager, Gordon Strachan, insists that the pressure is still on him for the Champions' League game against Copenhagen tonight even though his team are through to the knockout stages.

His side, who are level on nine points with Manchester United at the top of Group F, are in the last 16 of for the first time after beating the Old Trafford side 1-0 at home last month. The Danes are bottom of the section with four points and cannot even win a place in the Uefa Cup by finishing third. But Strachan said, "Having no pressure whatsoever will never ever happen to a Celtic manager. We are in form at the moment, we would like to keep that going by beating Copenhagen which would set us up nicely. Wherever we go we have to win, no matter who we are playing.

"If you don't win every game it brings problems and if you do win you take what comes after that and you deal with it." In order to ensure top spot and a seeding for the last 16, Celtic need to win away in the tournament for the first time. Strachan added: "First of all we are delighted to be in this position. And we have the chance to go top of the group which would be fantastic. As I said recently I don't think we are firing on all cylinders at the moment so I would like to get near top form."

The Copenhagen coach, Stale Solbakken, whose side will take a winter break after this game, said that his players will be fired up to finish their campaign on a high. He said: "We want to get a good result before we go on holiday. And we also want to get a better seeding in the future so that we don't have to play two rounds of qualifiers.

"We have done nothing but think about this game, preparing for it for weeks. A Danish team should be favourites against Celtic at home."

Celtic (provisional squad): Boruc; Telfer, Baldé, McManus, Naylor, Nakamura, Lennon, Jarosik, Gravesen, McGeady, Miller, Zurawski, Sno, Marshall, O'Dea, Wilson, Riordan, Pearson.

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