Nir Bitton claims an “amazing” team performance by Celtic against Qarabag typified a spirit which has taken them to within touching distance of the Champions League.
The Hoops won through to the play-off with a hard-fought goalless draw in Baku on Wednesday following the 1-0 first-leg win in Glasgow.
It was a battling display by Ronny Deila’s side, who had to contend with the heat as well as a dreadful pitch at the Tofiq Bahramov Stadium.
The 23-year-old Israel midfielder, who has become a mainstay of the Parkhead side under the Norwegian boss, outlined the reasons for progress into Friday’s draw.
He told Press Association Sport: “Everybody works for each other and when you work for each other you get success, you get the bonus for that.
“We played amazing as a team last night. It wasn’t the best performance on the football side but we showed a good defensive game. It was a difficult game for us in very hard conditions, but the most important thing was that we won.
“I felt very tired. It was a very difficult game against a very good side. Qarabag showed everybody that they have a lot of qualities. But we knew before the game what to expect and we prepared very well. We knew if we were going to keep a clean sheet everything would be good, and we did it and we are so happy and we are looking forward to the next round.”
Celtic could face Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel), Partizan Belgrade (Serbia), Malmo (Sweden), Skenderbeu Korce (Albania) or FC Astana (Kazakhstan) in the play-off. The former FC Ashdod player Bitton said: “We have two more games and we want to make it, it will be difficult, it doesn’t matter who we will meet. We need to play as we did against Qarabag if we are to do it, and I hope we will go to the Champions League.”