Europa League: Celtic's John Collins would relish English draw

Liverpool drop into the Europa League after finishing third in Champions League Group B
Liverpool drop into the Europa League after finishing third in Champions League Group B
Europa League Group D - Dinamo Zagreb v Celtic
Venue: Stadion Maksimir, Zagreb Date: Thursday, 11 December Kick-off: 18:00 GMT
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland; live text commentary on BBC Sport website

Celtic's John Collins would relish a meeting with an English side in the knock-out stages of the Europa League.

But the assistant manager has mixed feelings about whether he would want it in the next round - the last 32.

Liverpool dropped down to the Europa League after failing to qualify from their Champions League group.

"There's quite a few English teams in it already, so it would maybe be nice to meet them further down the line," said Collins.

"Obviously we would like an easy draw if there is such a thing at this stage.

Celtic assistant manager John Collins
"I think it enhances the tournament when the big boys drop in - it gets really exciting."

"But, at the same time, it would be great for the club and the players to test ourselves against a big English team."

Celtic have already qualified for the last 32 as Group D runners-up ahead of Thursday's final pool game against Dinamo Zagreb in Croatia.

Everton and Tottenham are also guaranteed to progress, while Manchester City could join Liverpool if they fail to finish second in Champions League Group E.

"Obviously we watched last night and Liverpool dropped down into the Europa League, so that's great," said Collins.

"I think it enhances the tournament when the big boys drop in - it gets really exciting."

Meanwhile, Collins was non-committal over newspaper reports suggesting that on-loan striker Jo Inge Berget would return to Cardiff City in January after failing to win a regular starting place.

The 24-year-old, who played at Celtic manager Ronny Deila's former club, Stromsgodset, has made eight appearances, scoring twice, since arriving in the summer.

Celtic assistant manager John Collins
John Collins was speaking as Celtic headed for their Europa League match in Zagreb

"I don't know if that's a definite decision that's been taken," said Collins when asked about a possible return to the English Championship club.

Celtic striker Anthony Stokes has also been linked with a switch to the Welsh outfit.

"It is something we've read in a newspaper, but we haven't heard anything," stressed Collins, pointing out that players would be linked with moves by the media ahead of the January transfer window.

"There will be speculation day in, day out, it will start now, until the window closes, but we're used to that."

Top Stories