Celtic Preview

Last updated : 19 December 2003 By Firparkcorner

The opponents are only four places above us but the difference in points is a massive twenty six.

But there is one common factor, both teams lost their last game to Hibs! Motherwell conceded a late, late goal last Saturday and Celtic lost at Easter Road on Thursday evening in the CIS Cup.

We can take heart from the manner of the defeat in Edinburgh. Hibs deserved their win and they demonstrated that our opponents are far from unbeatable. Hard work and enthusiasm aided by some weak finishing sealed the result.

Terry Butcher was part of the Channel 4 commentary team and he will be well aware of shortcomings in the opposition but his plans and schemes will come to nought unless our youngsters are in the correct state of mind.

Our recent form has been disappointing. The ‘zip’ has gone and we have to get it back. A game against one of the Old Firm could be just the catalyst we need. No great expectation of a result, no pressure and no reason not to ‘have a go’.

Butcher says, ''We may have taken three points out of 15 in our last five matches but that won't matter a jot when we play Celtic on Sunday. The players are hurting so there will be no need to motivate them.''

The nature of the injuries to Craig and Partridge suggest it is unlikely that they will appear on Sunday and the small squad will be stretched to fill the gaps. Will Dair or Quinn play at right back? Will Leitch be fit?

The FirParkCorner prediction league has several forecasts of a ‘Well triumph. While the undying optimism of diehard fans is to be admired the bookies are offering odds of nine to one in a more realistic reflection on the outcome. They are not often wrong. An away win seems likely 0-2.