Celtic V Motherwell at Celtic Park : Match Preview

17 February 2017
Celtic V Motherwell - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Dedryck Boyata looking forward to more European nights with Celtic

Dedryck Boyata hopes to strut his stuff for Celtic in Europe again after missing the Hoops' Champions League campaign this season.

The 26-year-old Belgium defender played in the unsuccessful Champions League qualifiers in 2015-16 under former boss Ronny Deila, also featuring in the subsequent Europa League campaign.

A muscle tear kept him out of the European Championship in France and he fell out of the Celtic picture following the arrival of manager Brendan Rodgers, playing only one game in the first half of the season when the Scottish champions beat Kilmarnock 1-0 at Rugby Park in November.

Boyata could only watch as the runaway Ladbrokes Premiership leaders fought their way into the group stages of European club football's elite club competition.

There, they drew twice with his former club Manchester City and once with Borussia Monchengladbach, finishing bottom of a tough section won by Barcelona.

Ahead of the visit of Motherwell on Saturday, Boyata, an ever-present since the winter break, recalled the European nights earlier in the campaign and expressed his desire to get a taste next season.

He said: "It was difficult for the team but they got some results against some great teams.

"Personally it was very hard as I would like to have had a part.

"For ourselves, we can only move forward. As we have been improving this season, we want to be able show the same in Europe against big teams.

"It will be hard of course but if we manage to show the qualities we have been showing this season here then it will be a great step up for us.

"The Champions League is a tournament every club wants to play in.

"For myself, I can only look forward to this.

"It will be a big achievement for myself and the opportunity to show what we can do against teams who have been playing at that level."

Motherwell assistant manager James McFadden claims Mark McGhee's anger over his Pittodrie dismissal was understandable.

McFadden remains perplexed over the reason why the boss was sent to the stands on the advice of fourth official John McKendrick during his team's 7-2 defeat at Aberdeen.

McGhee was involved in an angry exchange with a Dons fan as he entered the stand and claimed after the game he had been the victim of an "agenda" on McKendrick's part.

McFadden said: "He's a grown man, he is vastly experienced, and when you feel as though something has gone against you, you are not going to be happy about it.

"As far as I was concerned, there was no issue in terms of the manager being sent off. I don't know why he was sent off, we weren't told why he was sent off.

"I think he took offence to being told he was sent off and not given a reason. When the manager got sent off, I never heard a thing."