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Page last updated at 10:41 GMT, Wednesday, 19 August 2009 11:41 UK

Mowbray eyes early goal in London

Tony Mowbray and Arsene Wenger
Mowbray's side were undone by two deflected goals

Manager Tony Mowbray refused to admit Celtic's Champions League dream is over despite a qualifier defeat by Arsenal in Glasgow.

A William Gallas deflected goal and a Gary Caldwell own-goal means Celtic must overturn a 2-0 deficit in London.

"It's a big ask for us now but I think the secret is to go down there and try to score the first goal," said Mowbray.

"That would make them very nervous and edgy, but if they score first we aren't going to score four at the Emirates."

Celtic went into the game as underdogs against their English Premier League opponents.

But they matched Arsenal until minutes before half-time, when Cesc Fabregas's free-kick took a wicked deflection off Gallas on its way into the net.

Arsene Wenger's side upped the ante in the second 45, but again Celtic were undone by a stroke of misfortune when their captain Caldwell poked Gael Clichy's low cross past his own goalkeeper.

MY SPORT: DEBATE

"Both goals were very difficult to take," said Mowbray.

"Arsenal are one of the best teams in the world and yet I can't remember them having a shot on goal in the first half.

"Then they get a free-kick 30 yards out, it hits Gallas on the back as he's trying to get out the way and goes in the bottom corner.

"If they have a 15-pass move and score you think 'wow'.

"They never did that, and didn't look like doing that to be fair. But we then again we didn't either."

Despite the manner in which his team were undone by the Gunners, Mowbray had mixed emotions about his players' performances.

"The bottom line is that on the night was we weren't good enough on the ball.

"I think they worked extremely hard to try and deny Arsenal opportunities - and I think they did that really well.

"Ultimately our passing to the forwards wasn't good enough from the back or the midfield."

Mowbray surprised many by employing Aiden McGeady as a forward along with Georgios Samaras, with his regular partnership of Scott McDonald and Marco-Antoine Fortune relegated to the bench.

And he singled out the Republic of Ireland international for praise.

"Aiden was up front because he can hold onto the ball," he said

"He was the one player on our side who showed he has genuine top quality that could match their quality players.

Sloppy goals a bitter blow - Fox

"And you've got to have people up front who can do that against these teams, because if you're constantly giving it back to them you see what they can do."

Celtic defender Danny Fox expressed disappointment at conceding two "freak" goals in the defeat.

"Arsenal had a lot of the play but we didn't play anywhere near as good as we can do as a football team," he added.

"We snuffed them out for the majority of the first half and conceding the deflected free-kick was a bit of a sucker punch to be honest.

"We've got to go down there and be as positive as we can."



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see also
Eduardo defended over dive claims
27 Aug 09 |  Europe
Celtic 0-2 Arsenal
18 Aug 09 |  Europe


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