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Celtic to meet Ajax in Europa League

Celtic manager Ronny Deila during the UEFA Champions League Qualifying Play Off, second leg match at Celtic Park, Glasgow.

Celtic have been drawn alongside Ajax, Fenerbahce and Molde in Group A of the Europa League.

Celtic met the Dutch outfit two years ago in their last Champions League campaign, when the Hoops won 2-1 at Celtic Park with goals from James Forrest and Beram Kayal before losing 1-0 in the Amsterdam Arena.

The clashes with Fenerbahce will be Celtic’s first European action against Turkish opposition, with former Manchester United and Arsenal striker Robin van Persie now a star performer for Fenerbahce.

The final team in the group is Molde and this will be the first time the clubs have met.

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With the disappointment of defeat to Malmo still fresh in his mind, Celtic boss Ronny Deila has moved to clarify his post-match comments where he suggested his players had been “scared” against the Swedes.

“I think scared is not the right word. We went out (in the second leg) and we protected something, instead of attacking something,” Deila said. “It was like we had something to lose, instead of having something to win.”

Deila admits the loss to Malmo will require some getting over for all concerned, but he has urged his players to pick themselves up quickly ahead of Saturday’s clash with St Johnstone.

“This was a big, big setback. For me, and for the whole club and for the players. But you can’t go around feeling sorry for yourself, you have to get up again and go on,” he added.

Looking ahead to the Europa League, the Celtic manager is anticipating some more big tests.

“I think it is a good group, some big teams there and there are going to be a lot of exciting games, at home and away. We know we can beat anybody on our day, but we can also lose to anybody,” he said.

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