Hughes can old his own

Sunday Mail (UK) - - Front Page -

this game, we knew that we all wanted to be in Europe af­ter Christ­mas and we more or less knew we had to beat Leipzig to give us a chance. “We have a hard cou­ple of games com­ing up but we’ve given our­selves a fight­ing chance and we’ll take con­fi­dence f rom the re­sult and per­for­mance against Leipzig.

“Ev­ery­one knows they are a good team, they have some re­ally good play­ers.

“When you play in Europe, you might be play­ing against teams or play­ers that you’ve never heard of be­fore but it’s al­ways dif­fi­cult.

“Leipzig were a good team but all of the boys put in a real shift and that’s what you need to do in Europe.”

De­spite a three-week win­dow un­til

Sun­day Mail

the trip to Trond­heim, and an­other fort­night af­ter that be­fore Salzburg come call­ing for the fi­nal group game, Celtic face a tough sched­ule which in­cludes the Bet­fred Cup Fi­nal with Aberdeen in a seven-game stretch in 32 days.

For­rest said: “It feels like we’ve got a game every three days just now – but ev­ery­one is look­ing for­ward to the next game. That’s how you want it to be and ev­ery­one is go­ing to strive to keep this run go­ing.

“With Rosen­borg, the man­ager will say that we’ve been there and played them be­fore but every time it has been pretty close. So we’re go­ing to need to go there with con­fi­dence from our per­for­mance on Thurs­day and hope­fully get a good re­sult.

“Af­ter that, even if Salzburg have won the group, we just need to con­cen­trate on our­selves and hope that it’s in our own hands when it comes down to the last game.”


Michael O’Neill be­lieves Aaron Hughes is a golden oldie for him and Hearts boss Craig Levein.

The Tynecas­tle de­fender cel­e­brated his 39th birth­day this week but there’s no sign of him stop­ping just yet.

North­ern Ire­land gaffer O’Neill be­lieves that is good news for him and Levein.

O’Neil l said : “For a man­ager Aaron is a dream,

“He doesn’t have the huge ex­pec­ta­tions that he is go­ing to play, he trains well and he is good with the younger play­ers.

“It lets them see how Aaron pre­pares and what he does which has al­lowed him to keep go­ing in the game this long.

“I know if I need Aaron to start a game or drop him into a game in any sit­u­a­tion he will not let me down.

“He is still ca­pa­ble and Craig Levein is us­ing him in a sim­i­lar way at Hearts.

“I know Aaron is hugely re­spected at his club.

“When the big games come around and you need to go to some­one to step up he’s never been short de­spite his age. It’s al­ways great to have Aaron avail­able and ready to play.”

Ahead of Thurs­day’s Dublin friendly against the Re­pub­lic of Ire­land and a meet­ing with for­mer Celtic boss Martin O’Neill, the younger O’Neill has talked about play­ing even more games against the other Home Na­tions.

O’Neill, who turned down the Scot­land job prior to Alex McLeish mov­ing into the hot seat, said: “I think th­ese are great games. I of­ten hear my as­sis­tant man­ager Jimmy Ni­choll talk about lov­ing the Home Na­tions tour­na­ment, when they used to play it at the end of the sea­son.

“It’s some­thing we don’t have now but those games all have an edge to them, cer tainly more of an edge than a f r iendl y against an­other na­tion from over­seas.

“I al­ways en­joy games against the Home Na­tions, like our friendly against Scot­land and ob­vi­ously Wales in the Eu­ros.

“They’re games I wouldn’t be fright­ened about play­ing on a more reg­u­lar ba­sis.”

NO PAIN NO GAIN Konrad Laimer clat­ters For­rest as Leipzig crash to de­feat at Celtic Park RODGERS HUGHES dream player

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