Mikael Lustig has focus back on SPL after high of Moscow

DEFEATING Spartak in the Champions League set Celtic hearts racing – but now it's beating Hearts that will confirm the Hoops are the team they want to be.

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Mikael Lustig
Mikael Lustig

That's the honest assessment of Mikeal Lustig, who played a key role in securing the first-ever away win for the club in the Champions League on Tuesday night.

But the Swedish defender knows how important it is to get everyone focused again ahead of Sunday's SPL game – because only by retaining their championship will Neil Lennon's men continue to have Champions League nights to look forward to.

Lustig said: "We went to the top of the SPL on Saturday then won in Moscow, so it has been a very good week for us. Now we have to come back down to earth for our next match, which is in the league against Hearts on Sunday.

"Good teams always play games, win, then are ready to play again.

"We celebrated on the flight back to Scotland on Tuesday night. But now we have to make sure we have our feet back on the ground.

"If we're going to be the team we want to be, then we have to do that. We have a good squad, so we know we all have to keep playing at the top of our form to hold our place."

With four points from their opening two Group G games, enough to give them second place behind Barcelona, Celtic have already confirmed their credentials.

However, the man who set up the opening goal in Moscow with a perfect cross to Gary Hooper knows there is still a lot of hard work to be done if a last-16 place is to be achieved.

"Most people would have said that, if we were going to get four points from our first two games, we would have done it the other way around," said Lustig.

"But it doesn't matter if you draw your home game then win your away game – so long as you get the points.

"We just want to win whenever and wherever we play, and this has been unbelievable. Four points from two games is terrific."

He continued: "We knew we needed to take points early in the group. If we want to go through, we have to take points off Benfica and Spartak.

"But now we are going to play two games against Barcelona, and we have nothing to lose.

"We just need to keep believing in ourselves."

Lennon clearly does, and sent out a positive message with the line-up and system he selected for Moscow.

"The manager went with an attacking side, which shows he has confidence in the squad," said the defender.

"I was playing at full-back away from home, but I was up the pitch to provide the cross for the opening goal just 12 minutes into the game.

"When we play with the diamond in midfield, it's up to me to go forward when I can, and I enjoy it.

"Spartak had a lot of the ball, but they didn't create many chances, while any time we could get a counter attack, we were dangerous."

He added: "I realise just how momentous this result is to the club.

"Celtic had never before won a Champions League match away from home, so I'm proud to be a part of it."


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