Scottish Football - Celtic ready for Barca - Samaras

Georgios Samaras scored his first hat-trick in three years to help Celtic to a comfortable 5-2 victory over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on Saturday but insists neither he nor the Hoops needed the added confidence to face Barcelona on Tuesday night.

PA Sport
Scottish Football - Celtic ready for Barca - Samaras
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Hat-trick hero Georgios Samaras, pictured, played down his performance against Kilmarnock

The Greece striker's performance in the Scottish Premiership win over Killie was described as "world class" by manager Neil Lennon.

Samaras, 28, was reluctant to accept his coach's accolade and claimed there was no need for a boost ahead of the Group H clash with the Catalan giants, who will be without Lionel Messi after he limped off out of Saturday night's 2-0 win over Almeria with a thigh injury after scoring his side's opener.

The former Manchester City forward said: "You cannot compare the two games and (say) that because we won against Kilmarnock, confidence will be high. Confidence is always high.

"We always believe in the ourselves and our team. We don't need to beat Kilmarnock 5-2 to go and be competitive against Barcelona.

"I feel good within myself. I don't need any confidence. I believe in myself every hour and every day.

"I know exactly what I can do for this team and to help my team-mates win games."

Celtic famously beat Barcelona 2-1 in the group stages last season on their way to the last-16 but lost 2-0 to AC Milan in their opening game of this season's campaign at San Siro.

Samaras, however, insists the Scottish champions will go into the Barca match with the same attitude they took to Italy.

"We will go and enjoy it," he said. "We were a bit unlucky in that game against AC Milan, we didn't take our chances.

"I don't think we will have so many chances against Barcelona so we need to be more clinical.

"If we have the chance, we need to put it in the back of the net if we want something good from the game, like we did last year.

"We have to stay focused, try to minimise our mistakes and try to play to our strengths."

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