DEDRYCK BOYATA has admitted he barely slept for a week after Celtic failed to reach the Champions League last season and hopes he and his team-mates can make amends for that setback this time around.

Brendan Rodgers’ side take on Israeli champions Hapoel Be’er-Sheva in the first leg of their play-off tie at Celtic Park tomorrow night looking to move closer to securing a place in the group phase of the competition for the first time in three years.

Under Ronny Deila’s stewardship, the Parkhead side fell at the same penultimate hurdle in the previous two seasons, losing to Maribor in 2014 and Malmo last year.

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Boyata had not long arrived at Celtic from Manchester City when he took part in that latter tie against the Swedes 12 months ago and admitted the pain of not reaching the Champions League ached for quite some time after. This time he hopes the outcome will be different.

“The game on Wednesday is huge for us because the Champions League is a big goal for us,” said the Belgian.

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“We are at the same stage as we reached last year when we were eliminated and that was really painful. I don’t want to this to happen again. No-one wants it to happen. I think what happened to us last year can become a big strength for us this year. The pain we had, the feeling we had was so painful.

“It was the first time I had been in that position to qualify and I can tell you that I did not sleep for four or five days after the game against Malmo when we went out. I definitely do not want to have that feeling again. None of us do. While I was doing my rehabilitation, I was watching everyone while working really hard myself and I could see that everybody was so motivated. We know it is going to be hard. It would be against anyone, but we must win.”

Boyata made his first appearance of the season in Saturday’s International Champions Cup defeat to Internazionale in Limerick after a four-month injury lay-off and revealed he felt happy to be finally back.

“It feels really good to be back playing because I have been through a hard time,” he added. “Playing last weekend against Inter was great in terms of getting minutes. “I had to go through a lot of training and hard days, but getting a match was really great because I’d only returned to training the Monday beforehand.”