Celtic defender Adam Matthews upbeat on Euro hopes

Adam Matthews Celtic

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Celtic defender Adam Matthews is confident his side can reach the Champions League group stages after missing out last term.

The Parkhead club were given a reprieve after being well beaten by Legia Warsaw in the qualifying rounds last season, with the victory taken away from the Polish club as they fielded an ineligible player.

However, Celtic lost their final qualifier against Slovenia’s NK Maribor and were instead handed a Europa League spot.

Matthews believes the Scottish champion’s run to the last 32 of the Europa League will aid them in their bid for Champions League qualification this summer, and the defender is confident his side can secure a place in Europe’s top competition.

He told the Evening Times: “I think we can take confidence from how we performed in the Europa League in general last season and the last two games against Inter Milan [in the last 32] in particular. Obviously there is nothing to take confidence from when you lose a game no matter who the opposition is, but our performances were not too bad.

“I think we have learned from our games in the Europa League and will be well placed going into our European games now.”

Celtic have been drawn against Icelandic champions Stjarnan in the second qualifying round, with the first-legs to be played over July 14 and 15 and the second-legs the following week.

Celtic are at home in the first-leg and if they come through that they will have to go through two more qualifying double headers to reach the group stages.

Champions League holders Barcelona are 1.67 to win the Spanish La Liga title next season and runners-up Juventus are 1.50 to win the Italian Serie A crown.

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