Anderlecht v Celtic: Dedryck Boyata focused only on Celtic in Brussels home

Scott Brown and Dedryck Boyata speak to referee Craig Thomson
Dedryck Boyata (right) is back in the Celtic first team following a lengthy injury

Celtic defender Dedryck Boyata insists playing close to home will have no impact on his focus against Anderlecht on Wednesday evening.

The Belgium international, 26, will make his Champions League debut in Brussels, where he was born and raised.

Both sides are looking for their first points in Group B.

"I have nothing to do with Anderlecht so it is a Champions League game I'm thinking about like any Champions League game," said Boyata.

"It is my home town, I come from Brussels but I am playing for Celtic.

"It is different because I am playing against a club I have known since I was a young player but I will have the same focus for the game and that's it.

"I have loads of family, loads of friends coming but I want to win the game not because they are in the stadium but because it is a Champions League game, a very important game for all the players."

Brendan Rodgers' side opened their group campaign with a 5-0 home defeat by Paris St-Germain. Anderlecht also lost their opener, 3-0 away to Bayern Munich.

However, the two sides have had differing domestic fortunes.

Defending champions Celtic have won all but one of their Scottish Premiership matches and have progressed to the League Cup semi-finals.

Anderlecht, who also won their national top-flight title last season, have recorded just three wins from their eight league matches and sacked manager Rene Weiler last week.

'I know how big Anderlecht is'

But Boyata expects a tough game as Celtic look for their first Champions League group win since 2013.

"We know we are not going to play against easy teams," he said.

"I know how big Anderlecht is. I know how hard it will be and all the players know how hard it will be.

"They are having a bad time right now but it doesn't mean anything. It is a Champions League game and it is a very important game for both teams."

Boyata recently returned to the Celtic first team following a pre-season knee injury that kept him out for three months. His first appearance of the season was as a substitute in last week's League Cup win over Dundee and he played the full 90 minutes as Rodgers' men defeated Rangers at Ibrox in the league on Saturday.

Having been on the bench for Manchester City in the competition, he was an unused substitute in Celtic's 1-1 draw at Borussia Monchengladbach last season before establishing himself as an influential player for Rodgers in the second half of the campaign.

"We have been working hard to get here and it is a great place to be," added Boyata, who has been capped three times since his Belgium debut in 2010.

"We know it is not going to be easy but of course we want to win the game."

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