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 By PA Sport

Hapoel Be'er Sheva boss Barak Bakhar: Celtic have sat up and taken notice

Hapoel Be'er Sheva
Hapoel Be'er Sheva were crowned Israeli champions and have already knocked out Olympiakos.

Hapoel Be'er Sheva boss Barak Bakhar reckons Celtic have sat up and taken notice of his side after they knocked out Greek giants Olympiakos.

The Israeli champions are the only thing standing in the way of Brendan Rodgers' team reaching the Champions League group stages.

Bakhar -- who led his side to their first league crown in 40 years last season -- does not believe his team should be tagged favourites for the tie.

But the 36-year-old does think he has the Scots' full attention after disposing of the Athens outfit with a 1-0 aggregate win in the previous round.

Ahead of Wednesday's first leg at Celtic Park, he said: "We are not favourites. It would be a joke to say we are favourites.

"We know both of the teams will try to do their best but in front of this stadium and this team, it will be tough.

"A club like Celtic doesn't feel pressure. It's been in this stage many times before. We have pressure but it's positive pressure and we want to play a significant part in the match.

"Celtic know we beat Olympiakos so they are going to come ready. They really want to get into the Champions League so they will be concentrated and it will make it difficult for us.

"We had some good moments against Olympiacos in our away game and we want to attack here. We know the importance of an away goal."

As well as their Olympiakos triumph, Be'er Sheva have also seen off Moldovans Sheriff Tiraspol on top of a busy preseason schedule.

But Bakhar insists his men are ready for the test that awaits them in Glasgow.

The coach -- who is without injured skipper Elyaniv Barda but will leave a decision on star defender Miguel Vitor until the last moment -- said: "We've had nine matches in the last month but the players will still be fresh. We would still be fresh if we'd played 40 games because this is the chance to qualify for the Champions League."

A sell-out crowd is expected for the match and defender Shir Tzedek says he will relish the occasion.

"This kind of stadium gives the advantage to the home team," he admitted. "I've never played in this kind of stadium but we will have to deal with it.

"We're coming to this stage to play a team like Celtic with such history, so it's true we are not favourites.

"But we deserve to be in this stage and we trust the coach to give us all the information we need.

"There are moments in your career as a player when you realise it is something special. This is one of them."

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