Nir Bitton: No excuses if we fail

Nir Bitton Celtic

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Celtic midfielder Nir Bitton insists the players won’t make any excuses about the state of the pitch if they fail to overcome FK Qarabag in the Champions League qualifying third round second-leg.

The Bhoys travel to the Tofiq Bahramov Stadium in Baku with a slender 1-0 advantage as the Scottish champions aim to make the group stage of Europe’s biggest tournament.

Intense heat will be one major factor that the players will need to overcome but it is the condition of the pitch that has received so much attention in the build-up.

The grass pitch has been hit with a disease that has rendered 30 percent of the surface patchy and threadbare and the management have already been rethinking their tactics for the match.

Bitton is not thinking about excuses ahead of the game though and the Israel international, who was man-of-the-match in the first-leg, insists the pitch in Baku is not far from those played on in Scotland.

“We don’t know what the pitch in Baku is like yet but the pitches in Scotland are not the best in the world during the winter, or indeed for 80 per cent of the year,” he said. “Of course if you play at this level in the Champions League you want to play on a good surface.

“We played against Stjarnam in the last round and the artificial pitch was bad. If you are in the Champions League you should play in good conditions.

“But there are no excuses for us. We’re on the same pitch as Qarabag and we need to do our best to go through. Hopefully we will do it.”

Celtic are 2.50 favourites to beat Qarabag on Wednesday, a draw is 3.00 while the hosts are 2.88 to win the match.

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