Hapoel boss hopes to create history

Hapoel Tel Aviv boss Eli Gutman hopes to learn about the exploits of Celtic legend Jock Stein in Wednesday's Europa League clash at Parkhead.

Last Updated: 01/12/09 at 21:07

Gutman: Hapoel boss

Gutman: Hapoel boss

Gutman is also hoping to dump the Hoops out of the competition in their penultimate Group C clash in Glasgow.

The Israeli side, top of the section with nine points from four games, turned up for training on Tuesday night at Celtic Park knowing that one point almost certainly guarantees his side qualification into the knockout stages of the tournament.

Anything less than a win for Celtic, who are bottom of the group with two points, will mean they have no hope of progressing to the last 32.

Ahead of the press conference in the Jock Stein lounge, Gutman had his photograph taken beside a portrait of the former Celtic boss, who took the club to their famous 1967 European Cup final win against Inter Milan in Lisbon, thus becoming the first British side to win the trophy.

Stein cemented his legendary status at the club by guiding them to another European Cup final in 1970 and nine Scottish championship wins in succession, among numerous other trophy wins.

Asked what Stein meant to him Gutman, replied: "The nice photographer asked me to make the picture but to tell you the truth, I don't know a lot.

"But I will be happy to learn.

"Celtic are a big club, with tradition and good players.

"The second 45 minutes when we played them in Tel Aviv in the first game in the section changed things, we pushed and finally won the game 2-1.

"Let's pass over the game in Hamburg, where we lost, but the two games against Rapid Vienna were excellent, not only the results but the performances were very good.

"If we get a good result tomorrow night, then it will mean a lot to our club."

Gutman, who later commissioned copies of the photographs he had taken next to Stein's portrait, will have no qualms ending Celtic's interest in Europe this season.

After beating Celtic 2-1, the Israeli side then lost 4-2 away to Hamburg.

However, home and away wins over Rapid Vienna, 5-1 in Tel Aviv and 3-0 in Austria, leaves the Israeli side in the driving seat ahead of tomorrow's game.

Gutman said: "We came here to complete the job and qualify.

"We are expecting to play our game and if we play our game then hopefully we will score.

"We know exactly what to expect. We know the British culture, we know what the reaction of the fans will be and we will do our best.

"Although we came into the competition as underdogs and we are still seen as underdogs, you have seen already in this group that there are no favourites.

"We have achieved good results and will strive to achieve another good result."

Hapoel midfielder Gil Vermouth expects Celtic to go all out for revenge on Wednesday night.

"In Tel Aviv obviously Celtic did not play as well as they could but at Celtic Park, with the support of the fans, it adds a different dimension to the game," he said.

"We are aware that they will be better.

"They will be 100% motivated and they will want their first win in the competition."

Kick-off is at 8.05pm GMT.

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