Celtic won’t be fooled by struggling Dundee

Updated 26 December 2012
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Celtic won’t be fooled by struggling Dundee

GLASGOW: Celtic manager Neil Lennon has warned his players not to expect an easy game against Scottish Premier League basement side Dundee on Wednesday.
The Dens Park side sit bottom of the table, six points from safety, while the Hoops are five points clear at the top of the SPL.
Dundee have found life difficult in the top division after they replaced the liquidated Rangers in the summer, having won just three of their 18 fixtures so far.
Current champions Celtic are looking for their fifth straight win in the league for the first time this campaign but despite his side being in a rich vein of form Lennon says he won’t be taking anything for granted.
“I’m not going to take the game lightly,” Lennon said.
“We have another three games, Dundee, Hibs away and Motherwell before the break, so I will try to use the squad but everyone wants to play.
“The team is playing so well that I don’t want to break the momentum up too much. But people are champing at the bit to play.” With Celtic booking their place in the last 16 of the Champions League it means the Hoops remain in all four competitions at Christmas for the first time since legendary manager Jock Stein was in charge of the club.
The Parkhead side’s 4-0 win over Ross County on Saturday put them five points clear at the top of the league with a game in hand over nearest challengers Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
And Lennon believes his squad is in good enough shape to continue this fine run of form before the winter break begins on January 5.
“I don’t expect us to pull away, but I expect us to kick on,” he said.
“We are playing well at the minute and had an excellent second half on Saturday — a really good, top-quality performance from everyone, and with the likes of James Forrest coming back to the team, he gives us an extra dimension as well.
“The players have acquitted themselves brilliantly so far and we are halfway through the season and obviously we would just like to keep that going now.
“Whether other teams can stay with us, I don’t know, but it doesn’t look like Inverness are letting up, while Aberdeen had a good win at the weekend, so the league is still very vibrant.” While Lennon is pleased with his side’s momentum, he is happy to accept the winter break, which gives teams two free weekends after New Year.
“I’m looking forward to the break,” Lennon said. “We are into mid-30s now in terms of games already.


“It has come at a good time for everybody. Hopefully when we come out of the winter break we will have a full squad.
“And it will give the players a chance to refresh themselves mentally and give their bodies a rest for a week.
“We will come back and do a mini pre-season training camp and get ready to go again.” Elsewhere, second-placed Inverness Caledonian Thistle take on St. Mirren, Hibernian host Ross County, Kilmarnock take on Hearts at Rugby Park and Motherwell face Aberdeen at Fir Park.
Wednesday Dundee United v St. Johnstone; Hibernian v Ross County, Inverness CT v St. Mirren, Kilmarnock v Hearts, Motherwell v Aberdeen; Dundee v Celtic


Klopp tells Liverpool: ‘We can make history’

Updated 28 min 35 sec ago
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Klopp tells Liverpool: ‘We can make history’

  • Blessed with an attacking trio of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, a forward line to rival any in Europe, the Reds have played with a devil-may-care attitude.
  • Jordan Henderson: “They (the fans) have played a huge part in us getting this far in the competition. Hopefully, they can create an atmosphere similar to Anfield because it has made a big difference.”

LONDON: Positivity and passion carried Liverpool to today’s Champions League final, and that is what will give them victory against Real Madrid in Kiev. That is the message Reds boss Jurgen Klopp delivered to his players ahead of the showdown with the Spanish giants.
Klopp and Co. head into the clash as marginal underdogs, with Real aiming for their third Champions League crown in as many years. But with nobody backing Liverpool to make the final when the competition started nine months ago, the tag is is not something that has bothered them so far.
Blessed with an attacking trio of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, a forward line to rival any in Europe, the Reds have played with a devil-may-care attitude, and Klopp wants his side to forget about the occasion and attack the match as they have done every other Champions League tie.
“We are really fine in our position, with our tools. We don’t want to think about what other clubs have,” the Liverpool boss said.
“We did it our way, and we want to do it our way again — and we will see what it leads to.
“Nine months ago we were already a good football team. Maybe a few of us dreamt of being in the final, but only because of the performances we put in in different games. That created a special spirit. That’s our biggest strength, for sure.”
Jordan Henderson — Klopp’s main man on the pitch, the engine of the team and the man who makes the team tick — while acknowledging the Reds are up against a formidable side in Real, preached the same positive message as his boss.
“We are prepared for anything and everything. Real are a fantastic team, but we can hurt Madrid if we perform to the levels we are capable of reaching,” the Liverpool captain said.
“Anything can happen in a Champions League final. It’s about us creating history. We’ve done well to get to this point, but we want to go one step forward.”
If Champions League trophies were won on positive thinking alone, Liverpool are certainties to beat Real Madrid. Both Klopp and Henderson looked quietly confident and relaxed ahead of the biggest match of their lives. Positivity has propelled them to the showdown in Kiev, and there is no desire to change now.
The passion and free-scoring spirit that has characterized the Reds’ march to the final has been matched in the stands. Anfield has been a daunting place for opposition teams, with the 3-0 win over Manchester City in the quarterfinals notable for its intense, hostile atmosphere. And Henderson has called on the Liverpool fans to recreate the passion of home and intimidate Real.
“As we have said before, the fans are a massive part of the club,” he said. “They have played a huge part in us getting this far in the competition. Hopefully, they can create an atmosphere similar to Anfield because it has made a big difference.”
Standing in the way of a sixth European Cup for Liverpool is Real, who again have saved their best performances for Europe while faltering at home.
Attempting to become the first side since 1976 to win three on the bounce, Zinedine Zidane’s side head into the final with a wealth of experience. Cristiano Ronaldo is the side’s spearhead, with Gareth Bale coming into form at just the right time and likely to start tonight.
Klopp is well aware of the defending champions’ combination of excellence and experience, but remains undaunted.
“We have unbelievable quality on our bench, but nobody has the same quality as Madrid,” the German said. “Whoever they have on the bench, they are really quality players.
“Experience is very important. A second before the game, Real will be more confident than we are, but it doesn’t matter because the game isn’t decided in that second. Real are really strong, but they’ve never played us.”
There seems to be an inner belief within the Liverpool side that is both seductive and refreshing. And that, as much as anything else, is why Klopp is a confident man.
“This club has it in its DNA to win big things. We are here because we are Liverpool,” he said.