John Collins: Celtic still have pride to play for

Celtic assistant manager John Collins prepares to depart ahead of his side's fixture against Fenerbahce. Picture: SNS Group
Celtic assistant manager John Collins prepares to depart ahead of his side's fixture against Fenerbahce. Picture: SNS Group
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John Collins believes Celtic’s pride is at stake in tonight’s Europa League clash with Fenerbahce in Istanbul.

Celtic will finish bottom of Group A after taking only two points from five fixtures, meaning the final match is a dead rubber as far as they are concerned.

Parkhead assistant Collins, below, accepts it is a match they could do without, but he is looking for Celtic to finish the campaign on a high against a side that still require a point to qualify for the knockout stages.

“There is a lot at stake for the boys,” he said, speaking at Glasgow airport before flying out. “There is pride. It is another European game.

“We want to try to finish the campaign with a good performance and victory. We will be playing our strongest team.

“There is always ifs and buts, but the reality is we never got the results we needed and wanted.

“We can’t qualify but we want to put in a good performance and try to get a result.

“We have already assessed the games we have had. We know we have made mistakes and errors and we know we have to get better.”

Collins is confident Nir Bitton will not be distracted after Celtic were moved to issue a statement stressing there has been no approach for the Israel midfielder.

The Parkhead club responded to comments attributed to the 24-year-old’s agent, Dudu Dahan, which suggested Bitton was likely to be the next Hoops player to depart for the Barclays Premier League. Dahan later refuted the quotes attributed to him, and Collins said: “Nir is a very level-headed young man, very focused. He knows his job is to train and play for Celtic.”