Scottish Daily Mail

DON’T FEAR BEING HISTORY BHOYS

- By JOHN McGARRY

aware that only Jock Stein’s sides of 1967 and 1969 together with Martin O’Neill’s class of 2001 had previously won the league, Scottish Cup and League Cup. But the Norwegian believes they should be inspired by the prospect of matching such heady feats rather than be daunted by it. ‘Everyone is aware of that,’ Deila said. ‘That’s a positive thing — and we really want it. But we have to do it on the pitch. ‘There is nothing to fear. These are positive things. We are not talking relegation. That’s a hard pressure. We have everything to win and we are really looking forward to it. ‘Dundee United have done a very good job this year. They have been a good team and are going to be a tough opponent. ‘The three games between them — they are going to be really tough. But to win the championsh­ip and trophies is going to be hard. The cup is one game so we have to do everything we possibly can before the game to be ready for it.’ Celtic blew a chance to extend their lead over Aberdeen to nine points on Wednesday by losing 1-0 at home to St Johnstone. Yet, Deila was reluctant to be overly critical of his players, given the game was their eighth in 26 days. ‘It is not the second and the third and the fourth game that is hard when you play so many games,’ he said. ‘It is when you come to the sixth and seventh after each other and also only having three days instead of four between games. ‘It is a big difference because you can’t get 100 per cent rested. You lose 10 per cent against Inter Milan and then go into the game against Aberdeen and lose another 10 per cent again because you can’t rest. ‘You saw against St Johnstone that the first 25 minutes was good, we were controllin­g the game, playing quick and getting chances but suddenly it was like a click and the energy was out of the boys.’ However, Deila fully expects his players to be back to their best by the time they arrive on Tayside. ‘This is four days (rest) and that is an important thing. It is an extra day and also it is not 12pm but 3.30pm, so I am glad we play on Sunday and we are going to bounce back on Sunday — I am confident of that.’ As well as the absences of cup-tied pair Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Steven, Deila has a number of injury concerns. ‘Adam (Matthews) got a twisted ankle so hopefully he will be OK,’ he explained. ‘With Kris (Commons) and John (Guidetti) we will have to see but there are possibilit­ies for both of them. ‘With Emilio (Izaguirre) we have to think about what we will do. He is a possibilit­y but we will be taking a risk with him. It is too early for (Mikael) Lustig or (Charlie) Mulgrew.’ Pressed on the prognosis for Izaguirre’s broken finger, Deila said: ‘Emilio doesn’t need an operation but it might be a bit of a risk to play him.’

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