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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 March, 2004, 15:15 GMT
O'Neill relishes Barca test
Uefa Cup 4th Round
Ronaldinho in action this season
Celtic v Barcelona
Ties to be played 11 March and 25 March
Celtic manager Martin O'Neill is relishing the prospect of taking on one of the biggest names in world football.

The Parkhead side were drawn to play Spanish giants Barcelona in the Uefa Cup fourth round.

O'Neill claimed Celtic will be the underdogs, despite being the losing finalists in last season's competition.

"It's a tough draw for us and one that we will probably be second favourites in," he said.

Barcelona are currently fourth in Spain's Primera Liga, having won their last five league matches.

The Catalan club boast a number of world class performers, including the Brazilian Ronaldinho, Dutch striker Patrick Kluivert and Argentine hitman Javier Saviola.

However, the Parkhead manager is unfazed by the pedigree of the opposition at this stage in the tournament.

"It is great for us, and we will just go and play.

"We knew we were going to draw somebody big, because we were not seeded.

"Certainly there are a lot of very good teams left in the competition but it's exciting.

"I don't think we will have any problems selling the game out.

It is a big boost for the club - so from that aspect let's go out and enjoy it
Martin O'Neill

The first leg will be played at Parkhead next Thursday - and although that was not O'Neill's preference, he insists it is a disadvantage that has been overcome before.

He said: "We were at home first in every single Uefa Cup game last year, and it didn't do us any harm.

"Personally, I would prefer to be away first - but it wasn't to be.

"I'm happy to be in the draw, especially after the Teplice score last night."

Xavier Faus, Barcelona's director of international affairs, added: "This is a very important competition for us because we have not won any (competition) in four years.

"This is the international competition we have never won before.

"It's going to be exciting, Celtic are playing very well.

"I think the team that wins this round has a great chance of reaching the final."

The two sides last met in the European Fairs Cup during the 1964/65 season, with the Scots losing 3-1 on aggregate.

The winners on this occasion will meet the winner of the fourth round match between Spanish club Villarreal and Italian giants Roma in the quarter-finals, with a potential semi-final clash with Valencia on the horizon.


SEE ALSO
Liverpool brush aside Levski
03 Mar 04  |  Liverpool
Newcastle see off Valerenga
03 Mar 04  |  Newcastle United
Celtic survive Teplice test
03 Mar 04  |  Celtic



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