JOHN Collins admits the Celtic squad are putting in special work on the training field ahead of their Champions League play-off later this month to compensate for the fact they face lower-grade players incapable of punishing their errors in Scotland.

The assistant manager joined Ronny Deila in emphasising the need to concentrate on shape and defensive drills during SPFL Premiership matches ahead of the two-legged meeting with Malmo.

Collins, whose side visit Partick Thistle today, says it is easy for his players to adopt a swashbuckling mentality in domestic matches because their opponents are neither sharp nor smart enough to exploit spaces left at the back.

But he says every game must now be treated like a European fixture in an attempt to ingrain patterns of onfield behaviour.

“We work on it every day in training and want to implement that in every game,” said Collins, who took in yesterday’s Championship match between Dumbarton and Hibernian. “Sometimes, we switch off and think it doesn’t really matter, because they’re not going to punish us. If you become open and detached from each other against good players and good teams, you’ll be punished.

“It’s something that doesn’t happen to us in Scotland. No disrespect to the other Scottish teams, but they’re not clever enough players or quick enough thinkers to punish us.

“We want to open up and be expansive when we have the ball but as soon as it breaks down it’s an instant sprint back into our shape so there are no gaps for opponents to play through us.

“In Scotland, we can be gung-ho, we can have full-backs overlapping the whole 90 minutes. We’d love to do that in Europe, but the reality is you’d concede a lot of goals.”