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Last Updated: Friday, 15 December 2006, 11:43 GMT
Strachan happy with AC Milan draw
Celtic played AC Milan in season 2004/05
Celtic played AC Milan in season 2004/05
Celtic manager Gordon Strachan is relishing the prospect of facing AC Milan in the Champions League.

"We're excited about the draw, there's no doubt about that," Strachan said after the draw for the last 16.

"I haven't been to the San Siro before and people will say we are underdogs, but of course we are, we are 100/1.

"We've got a lot of games to play between now and then and hopefully we can be on a right good bit of form when we meet them."

Celtic will be at home for the first leg on 20 February, while they visit the San Siro on 7 March.

The teams met in the tournament group stage two seasons ago, with Celtic losing 3-1 in Italy and being held to a 0-0 draw in Glasgow.

The Italian giants, who have been European champions six times, sit 15th in Serie A after starting the season with an eight point deduction.

I was happy to avoid the English sides but that was in a selfish way

Gordon Strachan

"There is a great connection between the clubs and we were involved in two thrilling ties two seasons ago," Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell told BBC Radio Scotland.

"AC Milan are a formidable club, by their own standards, having a difficult time. Although I'm sure their injury situation will be cleared by February.

"But we will be reasonably confident in front of our own supporters."

AC Milan have only won five of their 15 league games this term and have been hit by a number of injuries to key players.

"We have 50% of of the team missing," AC Milan director Umberto Gandini told BBC Sport.

"But in two months' time we hope to have several players back.

"It will be a great European atmosphere at Celtic Park and we are preparing for a strong opponent."

The Italians topped a Champions League group that included Lille, AEK Athens and Anderlecht.

Celtic, who have never reached the knockout phase before, finished second in their section behind Manchester United.

Strachan, formerly in charge at Southampton, admitted he was happy to have steered clear of the four English sides.

"I spent 20 years of my career working in England and I've been to these places before, obviously Arsenal's new stadium apart, but I'm talking about that sort of game and I want to experience - something different," he said.

"I was happy to avoid the English sides but that was in a selfish way.

"One of the reasons I came along here was to hopefully do well in European football and play in big games.

"We've had Benfica so far and Manchester United and now we are going to AC Milan so it's absolutely thrilling."



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