Celtic: Nir Bitton vows to banish Champions League blues

Celtic midfielder Nir Bitton
Bitton believes Celtic will qualify for the Champions League next season

Celtic will recover from the disappointment of missing out on a Champions League place, according to midfielder Nir Bitton.

In an interview with BBC's Football Focus, the Israeli midfielder said the defeat by Malmo in the final qualifying round - meaning Celtic miss out on the group stage and drop into the Europa League - does not mean their season is over.

Bitton on Champions League exit

"We're very disappointed but life moves on. It's been a very disappointing week. I think everyone at the club wanted to go through and it was our main thing we wanted to reach this year.

Celtic's Kris Commons
Celtic lost the second leg in Sweden to see their Champions League hopes dashed

"When you play for a club like Celtic you want to take part in all the competitions you can.

"The most important thing for us was the Champions League in the beginning; we didn't make it and we have the Europa League now."

On European hopes

Nir Bitton in action against Kilmarnock
"If we play Motherwell or Kilmarnock it's the same for us"

"We want to do as much as we can to have success in Europe. When we play in the Scottish league we have tough games; it's not the same level as we meet in the Champions League or Europa League."

On the standard of Scottish football

"In football every game is tough. There are no excuses, we need to be prepared for every game; if we play Motherwell or Kilmarnock it's the same for us.

On manager Ronny Deila

"The fans love him so much and, when the fans love the coach, it means a lot. I think everyone around the club see what the gaffer wants to reach here.

"I think we're a different team from last year. Of course, we didn't qualify for the Champions League but sometimes these kind of things make you a better player and better team.

Celtic manager Ronny Deila
"The fans love Deila so much," says Bitton

"We need to learn from this; the gaffer has a big influence on me and a big influence on the squad. We just want to make him proud."

You can watch the full Nir Bitton interview on Football Focus, BBC One, Saturday 29 August at 11:30 BST.

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