Champions League: Celtic welcome Malmo in play-off round

Malmo celebrate their comeback against Salzburg
Malmo fought back against Salzburg

Facing Malmo is "a good draw", says Celtic assistant boss John Collins after being paired with the Swedes in the Champions League play-off round.

The Glasgow side could have been travelling to Albania or Kazakhstan.

"From a travelling point of view, it is not too far," said Collins after the draw in Nyon.

However, the former Scotland midfielder added: "What I do know is they must be good to beat Salzburg 3-0, who are a fit, organised and a high-tempo team."

Malmo sit sixth in the Swedish top flight, seven points behind Gothenburg, after 18 games.

"I know they beat Salzburg 3-0, are the Swedish champions and haven't had a good start in the league," said Collins when asked what he knew of Malmo.

"What you find is that teams sometimes sacrifice their league for Champions League qualification as you can catch up in the league.

"It will be a tough game. They will be organised and try to pass the ball."

Malmo lost the first leg of their third qualifying round tie 2-0 in Austria but won through after an excellent fight-back at home.

The Swedes will again be away from home for the first leg against Celtic.

Celtic assistant manager John Collins
John Collins thinks Malmo could be saving their best form for the Champions League

"They have proved they can cope with pressure and it shows they have a bit of spirit and belief in their team," said Collins.

"But we are at home and we want to win the home tie and keep a clean sheet.

"And we don't fear going away from home. We have legs, fit players and acceleration."

Celtic, who were seeded in the champions section of the draw, could have faced Maccabi Tel Aviv of Israel, Serbia's Partizan Belgrade, Skenderbeu Korce of Albania, or Astana of Kazakhstan.

The Scots, who booked their place in the play-off courtesy of a 1-0 aggregate win over Qarabag of Azerbaijan, will host Malmo on Wednesday 19 August, with the return six days later.

Malmo have won the Swedish title for the past two seasons and boast former Celtic striker Jo Inge Berget in their ranks.

The Swedes also have a good recent record against Scottish sides.

They knocked Ally McCoist's Rangers out of the Champions League in 2011 and hammered Hibs 9-0 on aggregate in the Europa League qualifiers two years later.

Like Celtic, Malmo have a Norwegian coach, Age Hareide having taken over in January last year and helped Malmo defend their Allsvenskan title.

Hareide was also the Norwegian national coach between 2003 and 2008 and a former Norway international as a player in the 1970s and 1980s.

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