Celtic looking to cement top spot

Celtic looking to cement top spot

Celtic will look to cement their position at the top of the Scottish Premiership when they welcome Glasgow rivals Partick Thistle to Parkhead on Wednesday.

Ronny Deila`s side return to league action after a comfortable 4-0 defeat of Hearts saw the Hoops progress to the fifth round of the Scottish Cup on Sunday.

The Glasgow giants now top the Premiership table on goal difference from Inverness Caledonian Thistle and will move three points clear if they win Wednesday`s game, which was delayed from the start of the season.

After a stuttering start to the current campaign, Celtic have won their past seven domestic matches in a row and are still in with a chance of claiming four trophies.

One of the players who has been crucial to Celtic`s progress this campaign is Virgil van Dijk. The Dutch defender bagged a double against Hearts on Sunday and has attracted interest from a number of top European clubs.

However, Norwegian manager Deila is hopeful of keeping hold of Van Dijk to spearhead his four-pronged trophy assault.

"I will not be surprised if there is more interest in Virgil. He is a fantastic footballer and is improving all the time," Deila said.

"Virgil works hard in training and is more focused. He`s going to be expensive but he loves to be here.

"I really hope that we can keep him. That is the priority. If he is going I hope it is to the biggest clubs and not an average Premier League team.

"He has everything you need to do it at that level. But I hope we can keep him to challenge for four competitions.

"That would be good for him too. He is our player and we have him on a long contract."

Partick will be hoping for an improvement in fortunes when they visit Celtic Park. The Jags lost 6-0 on their League Cup quarter-final visit last month when they were reduced to 10 men early on.

Ryan Stevenson, who grabbed a double as Thistle knocked Hamilton out of the Scottish Cup on Saturday, hopes his teammates give a better account of themselves this time out.

"It`s a big game for us on Wednesday. We went down to Celtic a couple of weeks ago and didn`t do ourselves any justice," the midfielder said.

"Winning breeds confidence and hopefully we can take the confidence from Saturday into Wednesday.

"It will be a difficult night for us, but hopefully we can give a good account of ourselves and, if we can play as well as we can, you never know what can happen.

"It is hard enough with 11 men at Parkhead so when you go down to 10 it is extra difficult.

"We will learn from that. We can go there with a bit of confidence and hopefully we can get a result."