Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths has admitted that the Champions League qualification process has got even harder now it has stretched to eight games, and that progress will come down to fitness.
The Bhoys face four rounds of qualifiers to make the group stages – starting with a match against Armenian champions Alashkert – and Griffiths has admitted that the Bhoys will need all of their mental strength to make the group stages for the third season in a row.
“It’s hard enough with six games but eight makes it even harder but the boys are capable of doing it” he said, as quoted by the Hoops official website.
“We need to be as fit as possible. The gaffer and the backroom staff will have us all fit so it’s all about getting the job done.
“We just need to take it on the chin and get the job done as quickly as we can. It’s no easy feat to get into the group stages but we’ve done it the last two seasons so we want to do that again this year.”
If the Hoops defeat Alashkert they could face Rosenborg in the qualifiers for the second season in a row.
Football Insider verdict
The difficulty of the qualification process the Hoops now face is defined by the fact that the Bhoys played Rosenborg in the third round last season, whilst this season’s clash will be in the second round. Meaning that a win over Rosenborg would be followed by two further ties to navigate. It will certainly be an exhausting and energy sapping series of games, and as Leigh Griffiths says, it is all about getting the preparation correct. The Hoops must use the next three weeks of training and pre-season fixtures to fine-tune the side ahead of the trip to Armenia, which could be very difficult if the team aren’t at their very best. The likes of Scott Brown and Craig Gordon, who have seen and won it all for the Bhoys, will be pivotal in making sure that the eight matches are navigated and the Scottish champions find themselves in the money-spinning group stages for the third season in a row.
In other Celtic news, the Hoops have been given advice ahead of their trip to Armenia