REVENGE is being regarded as a motivating factor for Jo Inge Berget when he returns to Celtic Park with Malmo in the play-off round of Champions League qualifying.

It is perhaps more appropriate, though, to look upon it as a potential driving force for his Serbian team-mate Nikola Djurdjic ahead of that first leg in the east end of Glasgow in 10 days’ time.

Sure, the home of the Ladbrokes Premiership title-holders was not a happy place for Berget during a six-month loan from Cardiff City last season, during which he showed little to suggest he is capable of creating tremors in club football’s most prestigious competition.

That happens, though. He was only there a matter of months. Things have worked out perfectly well for the Norwegian in the end.

There is history between Djurdjic and Celtic, though. He was part of the Helsingborgs side that lost 4-0 on aggregate to them at this stage of the Champions League three years ago, having been farmed out to the Swedish club on loan from the Norwegians FK Haugesund.

The striker did take his anger out to some degree during a pre-season friendly a little under a year later when playing with German side Greuther Furth, scoring twice in a 6-2 victory.

Mikael Lustig also played – and scored – on that sunny afternoon in Bavaria. He recalls how much of a handful Djurdjic was and remembers his name being discussed within the camp as a potential signing target for then manager Neil Lennon.

It didn’t happen, though. According to Lustig, Celtic pulled out when Djurdjic suffered an injury. They seem destined to scupper the move at every turn, but the Swedish left-back warns Djurdjic is more than capable of getting his own back in an encounter likely to define Deila’s time as manager.

“He is a really good player,” said Lustig, who also faced Djurdjic when employed by Rosenborg in Norway’s Tippeligaen. “I think Celtic were quite keen to bring him here but then he got injured. I’m not sure how close it was, but it was a knee injury which stopped it. We will have to look out for him. He will be a threat.”

Djurdjic instigated the remarkable comeback that earned Malmo their place in this stage of the competition. With his team two goals down to Red Bull Salzburg from the first leg, he produced a clinical first-time finish after just six minutes at the Swedbank Stadium last week to spark an unlikely comeback.

The 29-year-old, on a six-month loan from FC Augsburg in Germany, is certainly relishing the prospect of getting his teeth into Ronny Deila’s side with the prize of a place in the Champions League group stage at stake.

“Celtic are really tough, but it’s going to be fun and I think we have a really good chance,” Djurdjic said. “We have to score an away goal. We didn’t do that against Salzburg and that made it really hard for us.

“An away goal will make it a lot easier and, here in Malmo with our fans, I think we can beat anybody.

“We didn’t want Basle, because I think they are a class above the other clubs we could meet, but I think our chances are 50-50 against Celtic.”

Djurdjic will have to face Celtic in Glasgow without his regular partner and club captain Markus Rosenberg, though. Rosenberg also scored against Salzburg, but a yellow card collected just eight minutes from the end of the match has ruled him out of the opening play-off leg.

Lustig knows the 32-year-old well from their time together with the Swedish national team and regards Rosenberg as the other major threat that Malmo will possess over the two legs. Perhaps a little like Berget and Djurdjic, he is another player proving certain points in the wake of a thoroughly underwhelming stay at West Bromwich Albion which ended with his contract being terminated in February last year.

“He’s a smart, smaller player and he’s scored a lot of goals, but he sets up chances and works hard as well,” said Lustig. “He went to West Brom, but didn’t play that much, so, when he went back, everyone in Sweden thought he had dropped a bit.

“He has shown how good a player he is by taking Malmo into the Champ- ions League last season, though.”

For all the danger Djurdjic and Rosenberg present, Berget is Malmo’s top scorer this season, a mixed affair that has them lying sixth in Allsvenskan with eight wins and seven draws from 18 games ahead of today’s visit of league leaders IFK Gothenburg.

“Of course, it’s going to be a special game for him against Celtic,” Lustig said. “He will want to play a great game and show all the Celtic fans, players and staff that he could have been good here.

“It could make him more dangerous. When the game starts, you don’t think about that so much, though. Maybe it’s more in the build-up.

“I don’t know why it didn’t work out for him. I’d like to think it’s because we have a good squad. There is a battle for each position and maybe the other guy did better.

“Some players don’t work at a certain club then they go away and become a star. I’ve seen it many times.”

Berget and company will certainly be backed by a fervent 24,000 sell-out crowd in Malmo. The Swedbank Stadium is an impressive venue on big match nights, but Celtic will have to handle far more intimidating arenas should they make it to the competition proper. Lustig recognises that. This is a tie Celtic ought to take care of.

“There is a fantastic atmosphere in Malmo when they play in Europe and we need to be ready for that,” he said. “If we want to see ourselves as a Champions League team, though, we should beat them.”

That is not to say the meeting does not contain a certain spice. Far from it. There are sub-plots galore. Deila turned down the chance to manage Malmo four months before pitching up at Celtic.

Age Hareide, the Norwegian coach who took the job, was in charge of Helsingborgs and Djurdjic when they lost in 2012. He also stated back in May, when comparing Malmo to clubs of similar size in other countries, that they are “better than Celtic and Rosenborg”.

“Maybe it’s good for him that he has a good belief in his own team,” said Lustig, a fitness doubt for today’s Ladbrokes Premiership visit to Partick Thistle. “Maybe it’s because our gaffer is Norwegian that he wanted to say something about that. We’ll see who is the best when we play.”