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By ESPN Staff
Aug 13, 2007

Strachan dismisses draw theory

Celtic manager Gordon Strachan insists his team will not be playing for a draw against Spartak Moscow in the first leg of their Champions League qualifier.

The prize for the winners is a place in the lucrative group stages, with Celtic looking to at least repeat last season's feat of reaching the last 16.

A draw in Moscow on Wednesday would make Celtic strong favourites to go through, but Strachan insists he would never send a team out with a draw as their objective.

'I don't think in all the years I've been manager I've said `listen, a draw is good enough for us',' he told Sky Sports News.

'I don't think or plan it that way, I'd rather rely on ability.'

Celtic's 4-1 win at Falkirk in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League on Saturday has put them in good spirits for the trip.

They flew out of Glasgow Airport this morning and will take a first look at Spartak's artificial surface later.

Strachan has shrugged off suggestions the pitch will have an impact and is focusing on his team's progress.

'There is work to be done,' he said. 'We've worked in pre-season, there was a wee change in our style of play and we've been quite happy with that.'

Goalkeeper Artur Boruc travelled with his team-mates this morning but the shoulder injury which has kept him out of recent games is expected to force him to miss out.

Asked whether there was any chance of the Pole featuring, Strachan said: 'I don't think so.'

Understudy Mark Brown will play his first Champions League game, providing Boruc does not recover in time, and Strachan said: 'He's not the only one, there are one or two who this will be a new experience for.'

Fears that defender John Kennedy could suffer a recurrence of his knee injury on the artificial surface were dispelled.

Kennedy was out of action for three years after damaging his knee on Scotland duty against Romania in 2004.

A possible loan move to Toronto FC was abandoned because of fears the Canadian club's plastic pitch could create problems for Kennedy.

But Strachan said today: 'John's fine. There's no problem, he is in good nick, don't worry about that. I know John has a mental physical strength.'

Celtic have no significant fresh injury problems but Strachan said: 'One or two lads got some knocks on Saturday and didn't train yesterday.'