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  Thursday, 13 February, 2003, 21:55 GMT
Celtic face German test
John Hartson scores Celtic's vital away goal in Spain
Hartson's goal in Spain secured Celtic's place
Celtic have been paired with VfB Stuttgart in the fourth round of the Uefa Cup.

And if the Scottish champions can overcome the German side over two legs they could face Liverpool in the quarter-finals.

The Premiership side play Auxerre in the last 16 and if Gerard Houllier's team triumph along with Martin O'Neill's side, then a second Battle of Britain could be on the cards.

However, O'Neill was quick to play down any talk of Liverpool and insisted Celtic will be underdogs against the Germans.

"Stuttgart will go into the game as favourites, but we have a bit of confidence just now and we will go about our business positively," said O'Neill.

"Stuttgart are doing well in the Bundesliga, another strong and competive league, and I think we can all expect another severe test.

"As for Liverpool, don't even talk about it! The most important thing for us is to concentrate on this game and this game only.

"To be able to look forward to European football after Christmas is fantastic and it something that we will all enjoy."

Celtic defender Joos Valgaeren told the club's official website: "It would be a nice tie, Celtic against Liverpool in the quarter-finals of the Uefa Cup, but that is very far away and too many things can happen between now and then.

It would be a nice tie, Celtic against Liverpool in the quarter-finals of the Uefa Cup

Celtic defender Joos Valgaeren
"Our biggest priority right now remains the league, and then in February we can start thinking about Stuttgart."

And Valgaeren has warned against underestimating the German side.

He said: "Stuttgart are a very good side and I think we will be in for another very hard couple of games.

"Everyone would prefer to play the first leg away from home first, but it was the same for us against Blackburn Rovers and Celta Vigo so we'll just get on with it and do what we can at Celtic Park to win the match.

"The confidence is obviously high at the minute but that is no guarantee for anything."

Celtic secured their place in the last 16 thanks to a crucial John Hartson goal against Celta Vigo which gave them an away goals victory after the tie ended 2-2.

Stuttgart, who currently lie fifth in the German Bundesliga, eliminated Club Brugge 3-1 on aggregate in the last round

Celtic will play the Germans at Parkhead on 20 February 2003 with the return leg in Germany on 27 February.

The potential quarter final matches against Liverpool or Auxerre are scheduled for 13 and 20 March.

The last time Stuttgart faced Scottish opposition in Europe they eliminated Hearts from the Uefa Cup on the away goals rule two seasons ago.


Fourth round

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13 Feb 03 | Uefa Cup
12 Dec 02 | Uefa Cup
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