RYAN CHRISTIE has emphasised the importance of Celtic dodging travel sickness as they hope to make an impact on the Europa League.

The Hoops kick off their Group E campaign with a difficult confrontation with French Cup winners Rennes in Britanny this evening.

And Christie underlined the magnitude of the task and the fact Neil Lennon’s men must win on the road to have a chance of breakthrough to the next stage of the competition.

As well as tonight’s opponents – who sit second in Ligue 1 at the moment – the Parkhead men also face Serie A outfit Lazio and Champions League conquerors Cluj.

The Scotland midfielder, speaking to the Evening Times, said: “It’s definitely a very good group in terms of the quality of teams in it.

“Even Cluj – we were gutted to get knocked out by them so early in the season, so every team in the group will be very good.

“It’ll be a difficult fight to progress through it, but it’s something we’re confident of doing.

“We see ourselves progressing into the knock-out stages and to do that Celtic need to win away games.”

Ironically, it was a flop at home in front of their own fans at Parkhead that saw the Hoops crashing out of Europe’s elite competition this season with a 4-3 loss to the Romanians following a 1-1 draw away from home.

BY THE LEFT…Ryan Christie hits a pass despite the attentions of Hamilton Accies midfielder Alex Gogic.

Before that nosedive, Lennon’s side had beaten FK Sarajevo 3-1 and Nomme Kalju 2-0 and they also triumphed 4-1 against AIK Stockholm in Sweden in the play-off.

Christie is also looking forward to teaming up again with Tom Rogic after the playmaker made his long-awaited return in the 1-0 win over Hamilton Accies at the weekend.

The Aussie had been sidelined through injury since the 2-1 triumph over Hearts in the Scottish Cup Final at Hampden on May 25.

Christie added: “Competition across the squad is always good. I’m delighted to see Tom back because he’s such an incredible player.

“I can’t speak to highly of him – even though he plays in the same position as me.

“He’s been outstanding to watch ever since I have been at Celtic. Hopefully, he is over the injuries and he can kick on.

“When I broke in to the side last season a lot of the time it was me and Tom playing together. We were both in there, which I loved.

“There’s no reason why it has to be just one of us, we can both play at the same time. That would be happy days for me.”

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About Author


Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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