Champions League entry is priceless for us, insists Kayal
TALK isn’t always cheap. Celtic players have been holding regular confabs about how crucial it is that they qualify for the Champions League, midfielder Beram Kayal revealed after Saturday’s win over Aberdeen brought his first competitive start in a 2012 that was until now lost to injury.
The Israeli internationalist knows that progress in Helsinki on Wednesday, then through the play-off round that would follow, could be priceless. He would not, though, speculate that the alternative could be the club putting a price on his head, or other sellable assets, to balance the books.
“We are feeling good now after two home games, which we won,” said the 24-year-old, Celtic’s season beginning last midweek with the 2-1 win over the Finns. “That has been important for the confidence of the players and we now need to do the job on Wednesday to finish our work.
“We have great players and talent, but we need to go step-by-step for the Champions League and win the games, especially the one in Helsinki. Everything is possible in football and, after two years together as a squad with the manager, we are building something good in the club. We need to continue that with success in Europe.
“I’ve played Champions League with Maccabi Haifa [in 2009] and it’s a great feeling. It’s the best feeling ever I’ve had in football playing for Celtic and playing in the Europa League, but the Champions League is something different.”
Kayal, linked with a move to newly promoted English Premier League side Southampton, admitted that failure to earn the £18m Champions League group stage place could bring the need for remedial accountancy action at the club.
“We just think positive and believe we are going to get through,” he said. “If something doesn’t go well, we’ll need to have another plan and that will be for other people, I don’t take the decisions on which players are sold or stay. I have a plan for myself and that’s to play very well and give my best for Celtic. I want to get back to enjoying every day because it’s a hard feeling to wake up every morning feeling pain and not being able to do the things you like to do.
“Our focus is only on Wednesday and we want to do the job. [We] had a Europa League season last year against some great teams, including Atletico Madrid who went on to win the trophy. So we believe we have more confidence and experience within the team and I feel we can do it.”
Meanwhile, Neil Lennon revealed Celtic skipper Scott Brown might take an injection in his hip to get him through the match against Helsinki.
Brown’s injury meant he missed the win over Aberdeen on Saturday and Lennon said: “Scott had a scan on his hip and he has a bit of degeneration in there, on the disc.
“Whether we can get him through Wednesday… we will see how he is on Monday. He was very sore yesterday and it’s not like Scott. It might mean an injection and hopefully that will calm it down.”
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Saturday 18 May 2013
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