BY ALAN TEMPLE – Capital City Press
Qarabag chairman Tahir Gozal has described Celtic as one of “the world’s most famous clubs” but insists the Azerbaijani champions are good enough to stun the Hoops.
Ronny Delia’s men saw of Stjarnan 6-1 on aggregate to set up a mammoth 6,500 round trip to the Tofiq Bahramov Stadium in Baku.
It will be the first time Qarabag, whose maiden European campaign came as recently as 1996, have ever crossed swords with a club from mainland Britain – and Gozal is determined to claim a major scalp.
He said: “Looking at the history of Celtic, there is no doubt that we are facing a big challenge against a great team.
“In recent years, they have always been the champions in Scotland and they are one of the world’s most famous teams.
“But I always believe my team can win any match and know anything is possible. It our first trip to Scotland and it is an exciting fixture. Whatever the result, I believe we will do ourselves proud.”
Brazilian marksman Reynaldo netted the decisive goal for Qarabag as they got the better of Rudar Pljevlja of Montenegro in the previous round.
The 25-year-old, who was previously on the books of Anderlecht, scored 16 goals on his way to the Golden Boot last season as Qarabag claimed the league title.
Gozal expects their talisman to shine against Celtic.
He told Qarabag’s official club website: “I don’t think there is any doubt that we deserved to progress to the next round. Our team played good attacking football and went all-out for the victory.
“Reynaldo scored a beautiful goal and again demonstrated what an important player he is for the team and I’m sure he will perform well against a club like Celtic.”