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Conte wary of Celtic

Juventus coach Antonio Conte says there is no way his players will underestimate Celtic ahead of their Champions League clash on Tuesday.

Juventus travel to Glasgow’s intimidating Celtic Park for their last-16 clash, with the Scottish giants unbeaten in the Champions League this season.

But Conte is aware of Celtic’s impressive home record in this competition and feels his side’s unbeaten run may be under threat.

Celtic have only lost five of their last 34 home fixtures in the Champions League, the highlight of those being a 2-1 win over Barcelona late last year.

“We will have to be careful as we know their 60 thousand supporters are the twelfth man for them,” Conte told reporters.

“We can’t deny they are a great team, since they beat Barcelona and they only lost during stoppage time at the Camp Nou, and they have great skills.”

Although many have predicted Celtic could attempt a similar game plan to the one they employed against Barcelona, where they produced a particularly defensive display, Conte believes Neil Lennon’s side could try and attack, noting in-form forward Gary Hooper as a particular threat.

“Hooper up front is a player who, with the greatest of respect to Scotland, could excel in our championship in Italy,” Conte said.

“He is a very fast player, who attacks the spaces very well and is a good finisher.

“(But) Celtic has good players throughout the team and the heart and soul seems to be Scott Brown.

“Alongside him is Victor Wanyama, who, as well as being technically good, has an impressive physique.

“Georgios Samaras attacks the spaces very well and is another who has an imposing physique, as well as being technical.

“I like Kelvin Wilson, and the goalkeeper Fraser Forster, who is a very young player with a very good future.

“Celtic are not unknown to us and we have certainly not underestimated them.”

Tue 12 February, 2013
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