Celtic: Extra round adds to Champions League challenge - Scott Brown

Celtic captain Scott Brown will make his 100th European appearance against AEK Athens
Celtic captain Scott Brown will make his 100th European appearance against AEK Athens
Champions League qualifying: Celtic v AEK Athens
Venue: Celtic Park, Glasgow Date: Wednesday, 8 August Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland 810MW/DAB/online; live text commentary on the BBC Sport website

Celtic's route to the Champions League "gets harder every year", according to skipper Scott Brown.

Brendan Rodgers' side must negotiate four qualifying ties to get to the group stages for the third successive season - one more than last year.

AEK Athens visit Celtic Park for the first leg of their third round tie on Wednesday.

"The quality and teams are getting harder and we're getting more qualifiers," said Brown.

"The money situation is huge and it's went up as well."

Celtic have already beaten Alashkert of Armenia and Norwegian outfit Rosenborg and Brown looks forward to the challenge of facing the Greek champions.

The 33-year-old midfielder will make his 100th European appearance, becoming the first Scottish player to reach that landmark.

'Make Celtic Park a fortress'

"It doesn't matter who we get in this stage," he said. "To get through an extra round would be special for us.

"It's great for our fans as well. They want to be in the Champions League. They want trips away and to see us playing against quality teams.

"They're going to get that chance going to Athens. Champions league nights are special occasions. Whether it's the qualifier or if you get into the groups.

"We want to make it as special as possible and make Celtic Park a fortress as we have done over the last couple of years."

The winners of the tie will face Swedish side Malmo or MOL Vidi from Hungary in the play-off round.

If Celtic fail to overcome AEK Athens, they will drop into the Europa League play-off round, where they would face either Spartaks Jurmala of Latvia or Lithuanian side Suduva.

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