Ronny Deila admitted that the excitement of reaching the Group Stages of the UEFA Champions League would be "like Christmas and New Year at the same time".

His Celtic side will face NK Maribor tomorrow night in Glasgow, after the two teams drew 1-1 in Slovenia last Wednesday.

"It's a dream to play in the Champions League," said the Norwegian, "It's the biggest tournament, the highest level in football. It's going to be a huge game. I feel ready and the team is ready as well.

"Maribor played very tactically at home and they will do the same here.

"They were very easy to read but very hard to stop because they are so good on the counter attack."

Deila, who couldn't progress beyond Europa League qualifying at his old club Stromsgødset, continued: "We have to press together and we have to be compact. We want to attack and be offensive but in a clever way. I'm excited for the game now, I'm looking forward to it."

Celtic were defeated 6-1 in the last round by Legia Warsaw, however the Polish champions fielded an ineligible player in the second leg, rendering the result as a 3-0 victory for the Hoops, which was enough to see them progress on away goals.

Deila said: "We have everything to win, we get a new chance to get into the Champions League and we have to do everything we can to use that chance well.

"I'm looking forward to the game and a full stadium, an unbelievable atmosphere. We will do everything we can to make that atmosphere even better.

"It's important to start well and get the crowd with you, and show we are offensive in our heads."

Deila opted to rest a large part of his squad at the weekend, as he made 10 changes to the starting eleven in Inverness on Saturday as Celtic were defeated by a solitary goal to nil.

Meanwhile, NK Maribor also rested a few key players in their league match against Zavrc. Captain Marcos Tavares and Macedonian midfielder Aghim Ibraimi watched from the dugout as Jean-Philippe Mendy and Luka Zahovic started.

Both Mendy and youngster Zahovic scored in a 3-0 victory - with Dajman Bohar scoring the other - in a result which took Maribor to second place in the Slovenian league.

"We have achieved an important victory just before the journey to Glasgow," said French striker Mendy, "Before us is a big game and, with this win, we are only getting stronger, more confident.

"Scottish football is similar to England - the game is hard, relentless and we must be prepared for a physically demanding fight. I love these matches."

The 27 year old is aware of the significance of tomorrow night's game, as Maribor have fallen at the final hurdle the past two years.

"Qualifying for the Champions League is a big challenge, but we'll do all we can to achieve that objective.

"We know what awaits us and what we need. In Glasgow, it will be crucial to take advantage of the opportunities we have.

"We are ready for a big fight and we go there with confidence in our own abilites".

There are no fresh injury concerns for either side, as both played it safe and rested key players at the weekend. 

Celtic are expected to name an unchanged eleven to the side that played in Slovenia a week ago, including Craig Gordon and Callum McGregor, who both received call ups to the Scotland side.

About the author
Ryan McCue
Passionate football fan who focuses primarily on the Scottish Premiership and German Bundesliga. Admirer of everything sports related.