Stjaranan no easy task for Celtic, says Gary Mackay-Steven

Celtic players Gary Mackay-Steven, Stuart Armstrong and Dedryck Boyata
Gary Mackay-Steven and his Celtic team-mates are back in training

Beating the champions of Iceland will be "no easy task", according to Celtic winger Gary Mackay-Steven.

Celtic face Stjarnan in the second qualifying round of the Champions League, with the first leg in Glasgow on 14 or 15 July.

"We won't take them lightly," said Mackay-Steven, 24.

"We know a little bit about them from last season when they beat Motherwell [in the Europa League]. We need to prepare correctly for the games."

Celtic started their pre-season training on Tuesday afternoon while the Icelanders are already well into their season, which runs from May to September.

Stjarnan players celebrating
Stjarnan beat Motherwell in last season's Europa League qualifiers

However, Mackay-Steven is not worried about the disparity in competitive matches played going into the initial meeting of the two sides.

''I think we're prepared for that, a lot of teams in the draw were halfway through their season," he said.

"We'll do the correct preparation over the next couple of weeks and we'll be ready by the time the tie comes around. It's going to be no easy task.

"It was nice getting a three-week break to re-charge the batteries, but our fitness levels won't be too low, it'll probably be a case of topping them up."

Mackay-Steven joined Celtic from Dundee United in the winter transfer window and featured in the Europa League last 32 tie against Inter Milan, which the Italian side won 4-3 on aggregate.

"The atmosphere of a European night at Celtic Park is what we all want to be playing in and the Champions League is the pinnacle for any player, so hopefully these games are the start of that road," he added.

Top Stories