Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths says Champions League challenge sets the standard for the Hoops

Celtic's Leigh Griffiths looks ahead to his side's second leg against AEK Athens (SNS Group / Craig Williamson)

LEIGH GRIFFITHS has stressed the importance of Champions League football to Celtic ahead of tonight’s crunch qualifier against AEK Athens.

The Hoops have reached the group stages of the competition for the last two seasons but doing so again could be tricky following last week’s 1-1 draw with AEK in the first leg.

Striker Griffiths pointed to Celtic winning the domestic treble twice in a row when asked how crucial it was to reach the group stages of European football’s elite club competition.

“It sets the standard for the season,” said the Scotland forward. “The last two seasons we’ve qualified and done well.

“We’re under no illusion, it’s always difficult at the start of the season but we’ve shown over the last couple of years that we can qualify under that pressure.

“Tonight will be no different and we’re confident we can get the result.

“You could say they have the advantage, especially with the away goal but we, as a team, are more than capable of scoring an away goal ourselves.

“Last week we proved that, even under the circumstances with the game at 1-1, we were still pushing for the second goal.

“Given the quality of the squad we have, we are more than capable of scoring goals.”