Celtic `happy` to face familiar foe

AFP| Last Updated: Mar 20, 2015, 10:58 AM IST
Celtic `happy` to face familiar foe

Celtic are in good shape as they prepare to face a familiar foe in the shape of Dundee United in the Scottish Premiership on Saturday, according to manager Ronny Deila.

It will be the fourth time in the past 14 days the two sides have met.

Celtic came out on top in the League Cup final last Sunday before knocking United out of the Scottish Cup following a fiery 4-0 victory in a quarter-final replay at Celtic Park on Wednesday.

The sides now meet on league duty and Deila said his side would be taking nothing for granted in their preparation as they attempt to maintain their lead at the top of the table.

"It`s about mental and physical preparation so that we are 100 per cent ready for the game," the Celtic manager said.

"We just have to try to make the same performance and maybe make some of the things even better.

"Then we will know we have a good chance to win again."

The Cup win put Celtic a step closer to their treble dream and Deila is delighted with the progress the Hoops have made after a shaky start to his Celtic career.

"What`s exciting us is that we are in good shape and we are in a very good place right now," the Norwegian manager said.

"The players are happy, you can see it, they love playing together and you can see that in the way they train. "The work is to their benefit on the pitch and the rhythm is coming more and more and that`s how football should be, players have to enjoy playing football and look forward to every game.

"I think what we`re seeing now is that enjoyment and we see that in our squad now.

"That`s the only way to make the players better, to really enjoy playing football in training and in matches - just to improve and to try to do things even better.

"We are one step closer to the treble now and you have to just continue winning games and performing."

Celtic will have Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Steven available for the match after the former Dundee United pair were cup-tied for the Scottish Cup and League Cup, but Anthony Stokes will miss out through suspension.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Aberdeen have the chance to put some pressure on Celtic if they can defeat Dundee in the early kick-off.

The Dons could draw level on points at the top of the table if they can pick up a win at Dens Park.

Ross County, who host Kilmarnock, will want to get back to winning ways after their draw with Hamilton interrupted a run of four consecutive wins.

Third-placed Inverness Caledonian Thistle travel to Fir Park to face Partick Thistle while bottom of the table St Mirren take on St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.

Fixtures

Saturday (1500 unless stated)

Dundee v Aberdeen (1215), Celtic v Dundee United, Partick Thistle v Inverness CT, Ross County v Kilmarnock, St Johnstone v St Mirren