Celtic ready for anyone in group stage draw

Forward Gary Hooper told UEFA.com that Celtic FC "will take anyone in the draw" after eliminating Helsingborgs IF to reach the group stage for the first time in four years.

Celtic celebrate Victor Wanyama's second against Helsingborg
Celtic celebrate Victor Wanyama's second against Helsingborg ©Getty Images

After scoring the goal that set Celtic FC on course for a 2-0 win to complete their 4-0 aggregate triumph against Helsingborgs IF in the UEFA Champions League play-offs, Gary Hooper told UEFA.com that his side are happy to take on anyone in their first group stage campaign in four years. While Hooper's 18-year-old team-mate Anthony Watt – a used substitute in both legs – is excited about facing some of the world's leading players. Helsingborg's Pär Hansson and May Mahlangu hope to salvage some pride for their club and Swedish football in the UEFA Europa League.

Gary Hooper, Celtic forward
It is massive for us to reach the group stage. It was always our aim to do so but playing like that, winning both games 2-0 and keeping a clean sheet, is amazing. You could not really ask for more. The goal was one of the easiest I will ever score and I almost missed it. It came off my heel, hit the post and went in. I looked around to see if I was offside, it was not and I celebrated because it was so important to get the first goal in this game.

We will take anyone in the draw. We will give everyone a good game here at Celtic Park. Obviously you want the big names like Barcelona, Manchester United and so on but we will watch the draw together and take it from there.

Anthony Watt, Celtic forward
Although I came on in the game in Sweden, it was obviously a bit special to play in a Champions League game here at Celtic Park. The noise made by the fans was incredible. The players showed everything tonight. They ground out the result and finished the game in some style.

It is unbelievable to be in the group stage of the Champions League. It’s every player's dream to be playing at that level. I have not really thought about the draw that much. All I know is that we will be playing against some of the best players in the world, so we will be happy whoever we get.

Pär Hansson, Helsingborg goalkeeper
Of course we are very disappointed about the game. We lost this tie in the first game because we did not score. The chances we had in Helsingborg were too good to miss and in this game it was important to get the first goal and we did not do that. If we had it would have been a different game. I am very disappointed but we will look forward to the Europa League.

May Mahlangu, Helsingborg midfielder
We came here hoping to win but it did not go according to our plan which was to get the first goal and put pressure on them. There is nothing we can do about it now. It is always difficult to win away from home but we should really have done more in the first game. This was a great experience for us at this level, and it will also be great to participate in the Europa League and we will do our best for Swedish football.