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By ESPN Staff

McDonald feeling the pressure for Arsenal clash

Scott McDonald refuses to believe that Celtic are under no pressure in the first leg of their Champions League play-off against Arsenal at Parkhead.

The Gunners showed their class at the weekend with a 6-1 win over Everton at Goodison Park and are hot favourites to overcome the Hoops and progress through to the lucrative group stages.

However, McDonald insists that European wins over top clubs like AC Milan and Manchester United in recent years means that expectations will be as high as ever at Celtic Park.

"People say there is no pressure going into the game but I've said before that 58,000 fans inside the stadium will be expecting us to win the game,'' the Celtic striker said.

"We expect ourselves to go out there and win the game and we will be disappointed if we don't. And we've got to win the game and put the pressure on Arsenal for when we get to The Emirates.

"There is a respect for them but most of the boys have played at this level now against Barcelona, Manchester United and AC Milan for two, three, four years.

"It is another big team and in the past that has brought out the best. I believe if we can go to The Emirates with a win under our belts - and it would be nice to go there with a clean sheet - then it would make it interesting.''

McDonald is looking for another red-hot Parkhead night to help the Hoops.

"The atmosphere will give the players a lift,'' the former Motherwell striker said. "It always does. In general, these types of games bring out the best in our players.

"It has done in the past and hopefully that can be the case again against Arsenal.''

McDonald, however, does not believe the Arsenal players will be rattled if Celtic adopt a more physical approach.

He said: "We can say Arsenal get ruffled by physical play but their players are so used to that now and in more recent times they've been happier to play against that style.

"You have to get in and around them but doesn't necessarily mean being dirty or kicking them off the park. You just have to try to stop them playing and frustrate them.

"And if there is a chance that pops our way, we have to take that chance or it could come back to hurt us.''


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