Celtic confident over Moscow pitch

August 13, 2007

Celtic coach Tommy Burns insists there are no fears among the squad over Spartak Moscow's artificial pitch.

The Hoops have trained on a similar surface in Glasgow in preparation for the first leg of their Champions League third qualifying round clash in the Russian capital on Wednesday.

And Burns is sure the artificial turf will not hinder their chances.

'I think the surfaces are totally different from what they were 25-30 years ago,' said the first-team coach.

'So from that point of view it will be the best there is.

'We trained on a very good (artificial) surface yesterday at Harmony Row Boys Club up in Govan and it was first class.

'So from that point of view I don't think we will be looking at it as anything to hold the boys back.'

Celtic have doubts over the fitness of goalkeeper Artur Boruc, who has missed their opening two Clydesdale Bank Premier League games with a shoulder injury.

But Burns maintains the pitch will have no bearing on the decision over his inclusion.

'I think it's just his fitness that will decide whether he will play or not,' he said.

'We are going to test him when we are over there so the next 48 hours will be very important to him.'

Burns is confident Mark Brown will deputise well if the Pole does not make it.

The former Celtic boss said: ''Brownie' has done well in the games he has played.

'He has settled well into the group so I don't think we will have any problems if Artur doesn't make it.'

Burns highlighted Spartak's position in the Russian Premier Liga - five points ahead with 20 games gone - as evidence of the task Celtic face at the Luzhniki Stadium.

Burns, speaking at Glasgow Airport this morning, said: 'They have got some very good technical players and they have some height and stature in there as well.

'They have spent a lot of money putting the team together.

'They are top of the league so we know it's going to be very difficult.

'But all games at this level are difficult. I think these things are always based on how well you sort your own team out as opposed to worrying about the opposition.

'In Europe now if you can go away from home and sneak a goal that augurs well for the home leg.

'I think we just want to go and make ourselves difficult to play against and keep the tie alive for the game at Celtic Park.'