Celtic treble talk banned ahead of League Cup final
Celtic take on Dundee United in Sunday`s League Cup final as they aim to complete the first part of what could be a potential domestic treble.
Tannadice: Celtic take on Dundee United in Sunday`s League Cup final as they aim to complete the first part of what could be a potential domestic treble.
The Hoops top the Scottish Premiership and face a quarter-final replay against United in the Scottish Cup next week after the sides played out a 1-1 draw at Tannadice last Sunday.
It could be a memorable season for the Glasgow giants as Ronny Deila aims to become only the third Celtic manager to lead the club to a clean sweep of trophies in Scotland.
However, Celtic striker Anthony Stokes insists that all treble talk has been banished from the Parkhead club`s dressing room as they fully focus on claiming the League Cup.
"The treble is on the cards and at a club like this you are expected to win every game - getting to semi-finals and finals aren`t good enough. You need to try and win the trophies," the Irish international said.
"But it`s a difficult ask. You look at Dundee United the other day, they showed great character in the game. And when you get so close to winning a trophy, teams dig deeper against you.
"We just need to focus on ourselves, worry about our performance, and if we perform to the standards we are capable of, then we will win the game.
"We are taking one competition as it comes. The treble is there and, of course, we want to do it - we want to win every trophy we are involved in. I`ve said that before, but we just want to focus on Sunday first and it`s a big week coming up.
"It`s a big day out and a big day for the fans and the club, and it could be another trophy in the cabinet. That`s what our main focus is on at the minute, preparing for that and making sure we turn up on the day and perform to our capabilities."
The match at Hampden is the second of four clashes between the sides in a fortnight following last Sunday`s 1-1 draw in the Scottish Cup, with a league clash and the replay to follow.Both sides have won one game each in their previous meetings in the league this season, with Celtic thrashing United 6-1 back in August while the Terrors triumphed 2-1 at Tannadice in December.
However, United defender Jarek Fojut says the sides` previous encounters this season will count for nothing when they clash again on Sunday.
"I am looking at this game the same way as I did the first one in the Scottish Cup, simply as a match to win," the Polish defender said.
"It will be a different game to the one at Parkhead earlier this season when we lost 6-1, or the one in December at Tannadice that we won 2-1, or even the cup tie at the weekend that we drew.
"We want to lift the Cup and it doesn`t matter what has happened before. We will focus only on ourselves and hope we all have our best games at Hampden because I feel we will have to do that to win."
Celtic`s Virgil van Dijk and Dundee United`s Paul Paton will be available for Sunday`s League Cup final between the sides after their bans were overturned.
An altercation saw both players dismissed during last Sunday`s Scottish Cup tie.
The Scottish Football Association`s judicial panel overturned those red cards, freeing both players to play in the final.
United striker Nadir Ciftci is suspended for the match while former United pair Gary Mackay and Steven and Stuart Armstrong, who signed for Celtic in January, are cup-tied.
Sunday (1500 GMT)
Scottish League Cup final (Hampden Park, Glasgow)
Dundee United v Celtic