Blogs & Opinion


Celtic will need to focus fully in Wednesday's Cup clash at Arbroath, says Andy Walker

Andy Walker - Andy Walker Posted 10th December 2012 view comments

Following the hugely impressive achievement of reaching the knockout phase of the Champions League, Neil Lennon's Celtic side now turn their attention to a domestic knockout tournament when they travel to Arbroath for a Scottish Cup replay on Wednesday night.

The 1-1 draw at Celtic Park 10 days ago proved that the Scottish champions should take nothing for granted against a spirited Second Division part-time side.

Paul Sheerin's part-timers also deserve enormous credit for securing a lucrative replay and a second Cup clash against the Scottish champions will be the highlight of their season.

Arbroath player-manager Paul Sherrin during the 1-1 draw at Celtic Park

Arbroath player-manager Paul Sherrin during the 1-1 draw at Celtic Park

Even allowing for the fact that a number of his men will have already put in a hard day's work before kick-off in front of the live Sky Sports cameras at Gayfield on Wednesday, motivation won't be a problem for Arbroath's player-manager.

Paul Sheerin has enough big-game experience from his playing days and brief managerial career to know how to approach this game.

The experience of Brian Kerr, alongside that of his player-manager, will be a deciding factor in whether Arbroath can get some sort of foothold in the game.

Andy Walker
Quotes of the week

LIVE ON SKY SPORTS

SCOTTISH CUP
Arbroath v Celtic
7.30pm, Wed, Sky Sports 1 HD

Last season, I covered Arbroath's Scottish Cup tie at home to Rangers and given that they lost this one 4-0, my guess is that Sheerin will have learned a lot from that experience.

Everton's Nikica Jelavic was in top form for Rangers on that occasion when the part-timers played a very open game and with Celtic having similar big names capable of swinging the game their way, I doubt Arbroath will be so adventurous in their approach for this one.

The experience of former Newcastle, Motherwell and Dundee midfielder Brian Kerr, alongside that of his player-manager, will be a deciding factor in whether Arbroath can get some sort of foothold in the game.

Approach

On Saturday against Kilmarnock in the SPL, Celtic demonstrated just how far in front they are of the rest in Scotland with a professional and ruthless display.

However, it's fair to say Neil Lennon's men haven't always had the best attitude towards domestic games this season.

Defeats to St Johnstone, Kilmarnock & Inverness Caledonian Thistle as well as some surprising draws have meant that Lennon can trust some players more than others and on Saturday against Kilmarnock, he had a team that were totally focused on the 90 minutes.

Make no mistake, if the Celtic players have the correct attitude from now until the end of the season, they will win the treble.

Against the very best Europe has had to offer in the Champions League, Neil Lennon's men have had the ability to win difficult games home & away.

Having already progressed to the semi-final of the Scottish Communities League Cup and now beginning to open a gap at the top of the SPL, attitude to games is their only handicap.

A win over Arbroath will see them progress as huge favourites again with another tricky tie against lower league opposition in the form of Raith Rovers.

My guess is that with Champions League football on the backburner til February, Celtic will now start to focus all of their attention on domestic matters.

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Jeff Stelling

Jeff: Resting players is costing games

Why are clubs resting their stars in crucial games? It's costing them three points, says Jeff Stelling....

Jamie Carragher

Carragher: Which Blues are best?

Jamie Carragher reveals which Man City wizard and which Chelsea talisman he would have in his team....

Jamie Redknapp

Redknapp: Rodgers' balancing act

Jamie Redknapp expects Raheem Sterling to return, after Brendan Rodgers' rotation error against Aston Villa....

Latest News RSS feeds

Premier League preview

Super Sunday features Man City’s clash against Chelsea and Man Utd’s trip to Leicester, while West Ham face Liverpool on Saturday night.

Wembley to host Euro final

Wembley has been chosen to stage the final and semi-finals of Euro 2020, while Dublin and Glasgow will also host games.

Carragher: Which Blues are best?

Jamie Carragher reveals which Man City wizard and which Chelsea talisman he would have in his team.

Live transfer updates

Liverpool and Arsenal linked with Isco, while Arsene Wenger claims he missed out on Cristiano Ronaldo and Didier Drogba.

Van Gaal: Ronaldo 'possible'

Louis van Gaal would be interested in signing Cristiano Ronaldo, but does not think Real Madrid will sell him.

Features

David Meyler Interview: Hull City midfielder talks ambitions, Steve Bruce and FIFA 15

David Meyler Interview: Hull City midfielder talks ambitions, Steve Bruce and FIFA 15

Sky Sports caught up with Hull City midfielder David Meyler to discuss ambitions for the season, summer signings, Steve Bruce, Alan Pardew and the best FIFA player in the dressing room.

What next for Steven Gerrard as Liverpool visit West Ham in the Premier League on Saturday Night Football?

What next for Steven Gerrard as Liverpool visit West Ham in the Premier League on Saturday Night Football?

Liverpool’s defeat by Aston Villa last weekend represented more than just a second Premier League loss in only four games this season; it represented a tactical dilemma for manager Brendan Rodgers.

Sergio Aguero and Diego Costa were Atletico Madrid team-mates but their routes to the top have been so different

Sergio Aguero and Diego Costa were Atletico Madrid team-mates but their routes to the top have been so different

With 64 goals between them last season, Sergio Aguero and Diego Costa are two of the game’s best strikers. Born just three months apart on opposite sides of the Argentina-Brazil border, they were even team-mates at Atletico Madrid. But the pair have taken very different routes to the top.