Thomas Rogne relishing European challenge with Celtic

 

Celtic defender Thomas Rogne has no preferences ahead of Friday's Champions League play-off draw in Nyon.

Neil Lennon's men took one step closer to the lucrative group stages of European football's elite club competition last night with a 2-0 win over HJK Helsinki in Finland to go through 4-1 on aggregate.

As Clydesdale Bank Premier League winners, Celtic are in the Champions Path in the qualifiers and their five potential opponents are Helsingborgs (Sweden), NK Maribor (Slovenia), CFR 1907 Cluj (Romania), AEL Limassol (Cyprus) and Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona (Israel).

Rogne believes preparation will again be key, no matter who they come up against.

"I don't know all of them but I do know the Swedish team," he told the Hoops' official website

"Of course, it will be exciting to see who we get but it will be a tough game and we just have to prepare as we did for this one and hopefully we can get through it.

"It doesn't matter too much who we get. The game will be difficult anyway and we will just have to prepare as best we can and hopefully we can get into the group stages as that is where we want to be."

Celtic's win, courtesy of second-half goals from Joe Ledley and Georgios Samaras, guaranteed European football at Parkhead until at least December.

Midfielder Victor Wanyama was sent off in the second-half after picking up the second of two yellow cards but that did not put a dampener on the night.

"It was very important," said the Norwegian. "It was a game we had to get through. We knew that.

"Our season depended a little bit on it. We have to play in Europe. The whole club wants it and the supporters deserve it, so it was good for the players to get through it."

"I think we prepared really well," Rogne added. "We have a great manager, coaching staff and scouting staff who all did a good job in analysing the opponents and I think we were on top from the beginning.

"We should have scored a few in the first half and I don't think they came close.

"In the second half, they came out quite strong and put us under a bit of pressure but Joe's goal gave us a bit of a breather.

"When Victor got sent off it was a bit nervy and they put a bit of pressure on, but Sammi's goal was incredible and it was a nice way to finish."

PA

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