Gary Dicker: has his sights set firmly on win­ning at Celtic to­day

The Irish Times - Sports Weekend - - SOCCER -

His first game there two years ago pro­vided some­thing of a les­son in the harsh re­al­i­ties of Scot­land’s nor­mal peck­ing or­der with Celtic win­ning 6-1 but Kil­marnock have been trans­formed in the 14 months since Steve Clarke, also a life­long Celtic sup­porter, took charge and their re­cent record is hugely en­cour­ag­ing with two home wins and two away draws in the last four meet­ings be­tween the two clubs.

“The gaffer has com­pletely changed the men­tal­ity of the play­ers go­ing into these games,” he says. “It used to be that if you came away from a game against one of the Old Firm with­out be­ing beaten 3-0, you were sort of happy enough but that’s gone now and I think dur­ing his time here we’ve picked up twice as many points as any other side in our games against the two of them. It’ll be a great at­mos­phere there, it al­ways is, but we won’t fear them. We’ll be go­ing out to win the game.”

They’ll be go­ing there with­out an­other Ir­ish­man, Jack Byrne, whose re­turn home was con­firmed yesterday when he signed for Sham­rock Rovers.

“Hope­fully it will be re­ally good for him, he’ll get to en­joy his foot­ball and it will give him the ba­sis to get back over here again; he’s still only a young lad and he’s got un­be­liev­able abil­ity. ■

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