Weakened Celtic can cope with Ajax, says Georgios Samaras


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The Independent Football

Georgios Samaras believes Celtic have enough quality within their ranks to cope with the growing list of absentees when they host Ajax in the Champions League on Tuesday night.

Celtic were already without Adam Matthews – who is out for the rest of the year following shoulder surgery – and suspended captain Scott Brown. They were dealt a further blow when Kris Commons was ruled out of today’s game at Celtic Park after sustaining a hamstring injury during the 1-1 draw against Hibernian at the weekend.

Samaras admitted the loss of key players is a blow, but the striker firmly believes there is enough  talent left to fill the void.

He said: “Broony [Brown] is our leader, our captain, and it’s a big blow for us, but I think we have the strength and the quality in our squad to replace him.

“Kris is the same as Broony. He is a key player for us, he creates a lot for the strikers. But we have the quality in the squad to replace anyone in the team, even though it’s a big blow for us.”

The double header against Ajax is set to make or break Celtic’s hopes of progressing in the Champions League after losing their opening two matches against Milan and Barcelona.

Samaras said: “Both of the games against Ajax, home and away, are very important for us and Ajax. It’s a really crucial moment for us. They are important games, but we don’t feel any extra pressure. We are at home and we will try to play our own way and try to win.”

Asked what he expects from the Dutch side, Samaras – who spent four years in the Netherlands with Heerenveen – said: “The same as the last 100 years.

“They have a typical Dutch system, they try to pass the ball, they play good attacking football and they try to win the game.

“That’s what Ajax have done all these years and that’s what they will do tomorrow. I played in Holland and I know exactly the way they play in Dutch football. I don’t think they are going to change anything.”

On Celtic’s opening two defeats to the campaign, Samaras added: “I think we lost both of the games through really small details. “We made some mistakes that cost us and hopefully in the next games we will be more focused.”