THE good people of FK Qarabag did not look anywhere close to being deflated as they exited Celtic Park last Wednesday night and posed for selfies for fans whose accents were more Bearsden than Baku before boarding their bus

Who knew there was an Azerbaijan community in the Glasgow area?

None of the players, coaching staff or manager Gurban Gurbanov wore expressions which suggested they feared their European ambitions were hanging by a thread. Indeed, their collective mood could even have been described as ebullient.

A quick chat with a few of the players, who had just lost a match, backed up the theory Qarabag believe that in two days time they can overcome the 1-0 deficit inflicted on them by Celtic and get through to the Champions Group play-off stage.

Celtic are favourites. Unless the second-leg of any European tie is at one of the truly big clubs, a 1-0 home win always puts the victors into an advantageous position in the return, and so it is here. If Ronny Deila’s side can score just once, you would imagine that would be enough.

However, the champions of Azerbaijan showed glimpses of how they might play this week at the large and apparently modern Tofiq Bahramov Stadium. Not once did they look like scoring in Glasgow and yet there were four or five breaks, when the ball zipped between those black shirts as if on a string, which will have been studied by Deila and his players over the past few days.

One of those who caught the eye was Spanish playmaker Dani Quintana, or Dani as he is known, who drifted in and out of the game but when the ball was at his feet, it usually quickly went to a team-mate.

The man from Mallorca, who joined Qarabag in the summer, is certainly quite relaxed as to what his team can do, even if Celtic did surprise him by how well they played last week,

“Celtic are a very strong team and it was a tough game in Glasgow,” said Dani. "Of course I expected that, but I had watched a DVD of Celtic’s game against Legia Warsaw in Poland in this round last year and this current team is much, much better.

“They played good football and were strong. Celtic didn’t let us play as we like to in Baku. We normally like to keep the ball, but it was very difficult as they pressed the game well and they deserved their win.

"We now have another game in Baku and it’s going to be very different. We are at home and we are in front of our own people. It will be a lot warmer temperature for Celtic and so that will be difficult for them.

“Before that even happens they will have a long flight to Baku and it’s not easy to fly there and then play. As I said, the weather is totally different. It is much hotter. We will we play for our supporters. I hope we have some surprises for them and I hope we can do it. We can beat Celtic.

"In fact, I am totally sure that we can beat Celtic in Baku. Remember, we don’t need to rush around and win the game 2-0. We can take our time and win the game 1-0. We can win on penalties if we need. It’s not like the tie was finished in Glasgow. We are sure and we are confident in ourselves. Let’s see what is going to happen, but I truly believe in us to win.”

Strong words and to hear them was to believe them. Dani is well aware his club are not the most famous, certainly compared to Celtic, but they will use that as a spur.

“Our motivation to win this game is so high,” said the Spaniard. “We are playing against a historical team. The tie was not ended in Glasgow and we are going to do everything we can to beat them here. We will put everything into this effort and we believe, the coach believes and everyone believes.”

For all this positivity, there is also realism about how this second leg may go. Celtic did not reach close to their best level and still had most of the possession, chances and, if you remember, won the actual game.

Deila does not have a team of giants, something Martin O’Neill could boast, but they are a lot bigger than the collection of Spaniards, Brazilians and local players who Qarabag rely on.

“Celtic did not have so many chances to score in Glasgow,” said Dani. “We played very well defensively, although we knew they would be very strong on set-pieces. Look at Boyata, who scored the goal in the first leg. He stands beside the man who is marking him and he is 20cm taller. It is like that around the pitch. They are a big and a strong squad, but we have to try and find our way to combat that.

“Celtic is a big club and there is no comparison with last season’s team. The captain Scott Brown is a good player and so is Stefan Johansen, although he was not so good in Glasgow. The strikers are dangerous and the defenders are also very fast.

“You can be dribbling at him, but you know in a couple of seconds if you go past him (Boyata) he can recover and catch up. When you are in Glasgow facing the fans as well, it’s a nice game, although not too nice for us.”

Celtic would rather like it not to be so nice for them on Wednesday.