GEORGIOS Samaras is confident Celtic have enough quality within their ranks to cope with mounting selection issues when they host Ajax in the Champions League.
Celtic were already without Adam Matthews – who will be sidelined for the rest of the year following shoulder surgery – and suspended skipper Scott Brown. They were dealt a further blow with the news that Kris Commons is definitely out of tonight’s clash at Celtic Park after sustaining a hamstring injury during the 1-1 draw with Hibernian at the weekend.
Samaras admits 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 AC 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. We want to win this game. Every time we go on the pitch, we try to win the game.”
Asked what he expects from the Dutch side, Samaras – who spent four years in Holland 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. They won’t change their philosophy because they are playing against us here at Celtic Park. 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 ailing campaign so far, Samaras added: “I think we lost both of the games through really small details. Sometimes small details make the difference in games. We made some mistakes that cost us and hopefully in the next games we will be more focused. We will try to be more competitive and, when we have chances, put them in the back of the net.”