Blogs & Opinion


Celtic's clash with Dundee looks a complete mis-match, says Andy Walker

Andy Walker - Andy Walker Posted 18th February 2013 view comments

With 44 points separating top from bottom, this weekend's live SPL clash between champions-elect Celtic and relegation-threatened Dundee has the look of a complete mis-match.

It's been that sort of season in Scotland's top flight.

Following the extraordinary demise of Rangers and the restructuring of Scottish football that saw the Ibrox club placed in the bottom tier, Dundee were given just over a week to prepare for life in amongst the top 12.

Barry Smith: still on a steep learning curve, says Andy

Barry Smith: still on a steep learning curve, says Andy

It's fair to say they have been out of their depth. Just three wins from 26 league games so far underlines how difficult Dundee have found the sudden adjustment to a more demanding environment.

Celtic, with the remarkable resources they have in comparison to everyone else, have built the type of lead in a one-horse race that hasn't surprised anyone.

The trick for Lennon and his backroom staff will be to ensure they provide Champions League football again next season as most Celtic supporters I speak to find it difficult to imagine their club without it.

Andy Walker
Quotes of the week

Thankfully, their supporters have had a successful Champions League campaign to brighten their season.

Attitude

Despite the recent 3-0 first leg defeat at the hands of Juventus, the Champions League has provided tremendous highlights and as Neil Lennon said in the build-up to what was a magnificent atmosphere in Glasgow's East End, it's the biggest show in town.

The trick for Lennon and his backroom staff will be to ensure they provide Champions League football again next season as most Celtic supporters I speak to find it difficult to imagine their club without it.

On a number of occasions this season, Celtic have struggled to raise their game in some SPL fixtures and Sunday's lunchtime clash will be all about how Celtic approach this one.

If their attitude is spot on, then another six goals to match what they notched last weekend at home to Dundee neighbours United could be on the cards.

Tough

Dundee have their pride to play for and manager Barry Smith is still on a steep learning curve.

Just before the January transfer window opened, Smith's future as boss was debated in the boardroom and he was given the green light to continue their fight to escape the drop. In my view it's the correct decision.

Smith has shown himself to be capable of lifting a club from the depths of administration and putting a winning team on the park.

Being completely unprepared for life in the top flight was unforeseen and he deserves the chance to build a side that will be able to compete next time around.

This is a club that has come through really tough times with players being made redundant and Smith has shown enough leadership to merit a longer stay in a job he relishes.

What little quality Smith can call upon is hindered when injuries and suspension kicks in.

Compare that to Celtic who could easily rest 11 first team regulars and still have players of international quality on view.

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Jamie Carragher

Bruce almighty

Steve Bruce deserves a mention when this year's managerial awards are handed out, says Carra....

Peter Beagrie

An Easter feast

Beags previews the cracking Easter action in the Championship, including games for the top three....

Martin Tyler

Goal crazy

When did Liverpool last score three without Suarez and Sturridge netting? Martin Tyler has the stats......

0 comments

Latest News RSS feeds

Mata: United future is bright

Juan Mata is confident Man United will have a successful future under David Moyes, but says everyone must pull together.

Cardiff have faith in process

Cardiff say they have "every faith" that their official complaint to the Premier League will receive a fair hearing.

Good Friday Ups and downs

Sky Sports' guide to the promotion and relegation issues in English and Scottish football this Good Friday.

Howard signs Everton extension

Tim Howard will be staying with Everton until at least 2018 after agreeing a two-year extension to his contract.

Lambert looks to Villa future

Paul Lambert insists he wants to stay at Aston Villa and is targeting signings to fire the club up the top flight.

Features

Kevin Davies and Guy Branston on the Football League Play-Offs

Kevin Davies and Guy Branston on the Football League Play-Offs

skysports.com has been getting inside the minds of the players this season.

Sterling work

Sterling work

From man on the fringes to a key player, could Raheem Sterling now decide the destination of the title?

No engineer fix

No engineer fix

Matt Stanger reflects on a night that saw the title slip further out of Manchester City's grasp.