Champions League: Celtic's Scott Sinclair targets early goal v Rosenborg

Celtic winger Scott Sinclair
Sinclair says the Celtic players know their Champions League ambitions are at stake

Celtic's Scott Sinclair believes an early goal will help to "settle the nerves" in their Champions League qualifier against Rosenborg.

The sides fought out a goalless draw in the first leg at Celtic Park but Sinclair says the return of fit-again striker Leigh Griffiths is a boost.

"It's a massive game and all the boys know what's at stake," Sinclair told BBC Scotland.

"Obviously, Griff's back [Leigh Griffiths], which is a massive factor."

Griffiths, who has been struggling with a calf injury, missed the the first leg along with fellow striker Moussa Dembele, who remains sidelined, and defender Erik Sviatchenko.

The Scotland international and Sviatchenko have both travelled to Norway and team-mate Sinclair is in no doubt as to the magnitude of the tie.

'We need to score goals'

"The main priority is to keep a clean sheet but at the same time we need to score goals," said Sinclair. "This [tie] sets us up for the start of the season going into the league next week. We know that we need to go and win the game."

While Sinclair hopes Griffiths is back for the match, the Englishman is happy to lead the line if need be.

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Scott Sinclair says Celtic are aware of what is at stake against Rosenborg.

"The manager decides who is going to be the striker," he added. "Like we've been doing, whoever needs to fill in that position, everyone will step up.

"I can play anywhere across the front three. If the manager wants me to play there, I'll play there.

"For us, if we can go out there and ensure we get an early goal, I think it will settle some nerves."

Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths
Fit-again Leigh Griffiths is in line to lead Celtic against Rosenborg

BBC Sportsound pundit Pat Bonner, who will be part of the commentary team in Trondheim, believes the return of Griffiths could tip the tie in Celtic's favour.

The former Celtic goalkeeper said: "I expected Celtic to play a lot better in that first leg, even though they didn't have a striker. I'm a little bit more confident because Leigh Griffiths will be fit; he's on the plane and travelled, and I think he will start.

"That will give balance to the whole team and help the other players. if Griffiths is fit then I think he'll start because it would certainly help the rest of the players like Tom Rogic, who likes to play in between the lines.

"But he [Rogic] also likes someone to bounce balls off and play little one-twos. Even if Griffiths is 90% fit then I think he'll start.

"Brendan Rodgers and Scott Sinclair have been playing down all the pressure; it was all about calmness. That's something they will have to prove - that they can handle that pressure because this is huge for the club.

"Of course, they have the Europa League qualifier to fall back on but they don't want to be there. Rodgers, the team, the players, everybody connected to Celtic wants to be in the Champions League group stage and this is a stepping stone to that.

"We expect Celtic to be at a different level this week because of the week of extra fitness and maybe learning from that first game.

"While I'm not overly confident, I'm quietly confident that they will go through. I think they will score in this game and that means Rosenborg, of course, would have to score two to beat them."

Celtic's Tom Rogic in action against Rosenborg's Andres Konradsen
Tom Rogic played in an unfamiliar striker's role in the goalless first leg

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