Champions League - Samaras rallies Celtic troops

Georgios Samaras insists Celtic need not feel inferior to any of their Champions League group opponents as the Parkhead men prepare to face AC Milan in their Group H opener at the San Siro.

PA Sport
Scottish Premiership - Celtic show class of champions

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Georgios Samaras (PA Photos)

After negotiating three qualifying rounds, the Scottish champions were drawn alongside the Italian giants as well as Barcelona and Ajax in a section full of previous winners of the top club competition in Europe.

Celtic, though, are generally regarded as the weakest side in the group but Samaras is mindful of the Hoops beating Barcelona last season on their way to the last 16, and of the club's rich history in Europe which includes the European Cup final win over Inter Milan in Lisbon in 1967.

The Greece striker, 28, said: "The group we have is really difficult with some of the greatest clubs in world football.

"But we are a great club as well and we want to stay in this high level every year if possible.

"The players know the history of this club, we are really proud of what the previous teams and players did in the club's history, and we want to create our own history."

Samaras scored in five away games in Europe last season and in the Hoops' first qualifying round at Cliftonville this season but the former Manchester City player played down his contribution to the cause.

"I am not playing football for records or numbers," he said.

"I am playing football because I love it and I want my team to win. The rest is just numbers.

"If we win tomorrow and I score a goal then okay, but if someone else scores....the main point is try to get something from the game.

"We worked hard in the summer and pre-season and we have already played six European games and SPFL games.

"Our fitness is of a high standard and we are here because we liked what happened last year.

"It was a great experience for everyone at the club and we worked hard to be back in the group stages and so we want to enjoy the games and try to win them if possible.

"I know the group is really tough but we are ready for the challenge."

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