The Sunday Post (Inverness)

Celtic are simply the best

Kennedy’s statement of intent ahead of Old Firm Cup tie

- By Danny Stewart

John Kennedy has lit a fire under the upcoming Old Firm derby by insisting Celtic are the best team in Scotland.

The Hoops interim boss voiced the opinion as he looked ahead to the Scottish Cup tie at Ibrox next weekend. Rangers boast a perfect domestic record at home, and have already been crowned the Premiershi­p champions of 2020-21. However, Kennedy (left) who harbours ambitions to win the Celtic post on a permanent basis, says he would take his side – who thrashed Livingston 6-0 yesterday – over any other team in the country. And, he argues, victory for the visitors in the Fourth Round clash would lay down a marker for next season’s campaign.

John Kennedy has struck a defiant note ahead of the Scottish Cup clash with Rangers next weekend – insisting Celtic are the best team in Scotland.

The Hoops will go into the tie, knowing they will have to end their rivals’ perfect domestic record at Ibrox this season if they are to progress to the quarter-finals.

That is no easy task, with the Light Blues’ home form having been central to their success in capturing the Premiershi­p title.

However, Kennedy, Celtic’s interim manager, argues the statistics do not tell the full story, and says a win for his team would lay down a marker for next season.

“I have full belief in the squad we have here, and that on our day we are still the best team in the country,” he said.

“I think in the last game (last month’s 1-1 draw at Celtic Park), and the 60 minutes we had at Ibrox (prior to Nir Bitton’s sending off in the 1-0 defeat in January), we showed that.

“From my point of view, in terms of our level of performanc­e, and how we can play and create, there were a lot of positives. “We just have to be much more clinical at the top end, and not be switching off at set-play moments.

“That’s been the outcome of the games recently.

“We will be fully focused on that, and we will try to build on our performanc­es.”

The heart of Kennedy’s message to his players is that with the title away, this is the time to lay foundation­s for the months ahead.

“That’s the reaction you have to have,” he said.

“There was always going to come a point where we had a setback. This season was a big one for us – but the best always bounce back.

“It’s easy to give up and say: ‘Oh, we’ve had our time’.

“But I have said it to the players, and it is very much about how we respond to that.

“Our level of performanc­e against Rangers was good.

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