Hartley: Hoops will bounce back

17 September 2012 06:07

Celtic have been backed to respond from their loss at St Johnstone and make a strong start to their Champions League campaign.

Neil Lennon's men lost 2-1 in Perth in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League on Saturday and host Benfica on Wednesday night in their first match of Group G, which also features Barcelona and Spartak Moscow.

Speaking at a Tesco Bank Football Challenge event at Hampden Park, former Celtic midfielder Paul Hartley said: "Celtic are coming off the back of a bad result against St Johnstone. They will forget about that and make sure they're ready for Wednesday night.

"It will be an important game for Celtic. If you can have a strong home performance then hopefully it will stand you in good stead.

"It's a difficult group. There are quality teams there, but Celtic are in there on merit. They've shown they can go away from home now and win in Europe.

"It will be a great atmosphere. Champions League nights are always special and I'm sure Neil will have his team ready.

"Hopefully they can get a good result on Wednesday, get on the board with a good three points and take it from there," added the Alloa Athletic manager.

Celtic return to the Champions League this week as Old Firm rivals Rangers take on Queen of the South in the Ramsdens Cup tomorrow night.

Rangers are still to win away from home in the Irn-Bru Third Division and drew 0-0 at Annan on Saturday.

Hartley, who steered Alloa to the Third Division title last season, added: "Going away from home all these clubs will be up for it. They'll see it as a cup final against Rangers.

"I'm sure Ally (McCoist, the Rangers manager) will know that - he was never going to get an easy game.

"Their home form has been good, away from home they've had a little problem, but you go away to these grounds.

"I'm sure it will take a little bit of time."

Source: team_talk