Champions League: Celtic must guard against complacency against Astana - Scott Sinclair

By Jane LewisBBC Scotland
Celtic's Scott Sinclair celebrates
Scott Sinclair and his Celtic team-mates flew from Glasgow to Astana on Sunday

Scott Sinclair is relishing the prospect of playing in the Champions League group stage but says Celtic must first concentrate on beating Astana.

Celtic take a big lead into Tuesday's play-off second leg in Kazakhstan.

"Having that 5-0 cushion, you can get complacent," the 28-year-old Celtic winger told BBC Scotland when asked about Thursday's group-stage draw.

"But that's where we stay mentally strong and focus on the game in hand and get the job done."

Sinclair, who scored two goals during the first leg at Celtic Park last week, insists he and his team-mates will put that healthy lead to the back of their minds in Kazakhstan.

"There's not so much pressure because of the 5-0 lead, but when we go out there, we can't concede," said last season's player of the year in Scotland.

"We'll keep calm and play our normal game and make sure we go out there to win it as well.

"We have to make sure we go over there and get the job done and then we can start looking to see who we may face."

Scott Sinclair scores Celtic's third against Astana in Glasgow
Sinclair scored Celtic's third against Astana in Glasgow

Sinclair expects Tuesday's hosts to adopt a more cavalier approach as they look to reduce a heavy deficit and believes the easy way to settle any concerns is to score the first goal.

"In their minds, I'm sure they've got nothing to lose," he continued.

"They're going to come at us. I can't see them sitting in because there would be no point in that.

"So they're going to be attacking us just as much as we'll be attacking them, so I'm sure it'll be an open game."

With Celtic strong favourites to progress, Sinclair believes this season's squad is better equipped to handle the group games after three draws and three defeats last season.

"I think we're a much better team, much more together and obviously the gaffer has brought in a few players and a bit more experience from last year," he added.

"Every footballer around the world wants to play in the Champions League and to get into the group stages, it should be unbelievable and, for all the fans and everyone involved at Celtic, it's a massive thing.

"That's why you play the game, you're always trying to test yourself and play against the best and there's no better place to play against the best players than in the Champions League."

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