Celtic V Dundee Utd at Celtic Park : Match Preview

01 November 2013 06:01
Celtic V Dundee Utd - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

McNamara eyes Parkhead lift

Dundee United manager Jackie McNamara has challenged his side to put a controversial League Cup exit behind them and show their true colours at Celtic on Saturday.

A first-half flare-up at Inverness saw Nadir Ciftci sent off after reacting angrily to a Richie Foran tackle on Gary Mackay-Steven that sparked a melee.

The 21-year-old Turkish striker has since been accused by the Scottish Football Association of grabbing assistant referee Gavin Harris "by the throat" and an opposition player "by the face", and he could face a long suspension.

He is disputed his sending-off and must make his case on that issue and respond to the accusations of excessive misconduct in a hearing next Thursday.

Ciftci is available for the trip to Parkhead and McNamara must decide whether to select him.

The United boss has no plans to change his team's style of play for the Premiership clash with the champions, but after a 2-1 defeat in the Highlands he hopes for better in Glasgow.

The Tangerines have won many admirers already this season with their brand of exciting football which last weekend saw them tear St Mirren apart 4-0 at Tannadice.

McNamara said: "We're looking forward to going to Celtic Park and we'll approach it like we do any other game.

"That's when we're at our best and we'll try to show that again on Saturday.

"We have some very good forward-thinking players who can cause any team problems on their day.

"This is a great stage to go and play at and hopefully it can bring out the best in us."

McNamara has told his players to forget about their cup exit and focus on tackling Neil Lennon's men, saying: "What's done is done now.

"We wanted to progress in the cup but it wasn't to be unfortunately.

"It's about moving on and trying to get a positive result in the next game.

"Celtic are a quality side but as always we'll focus on ourselves and stick to the things we're good at.

"We've been playing quite well in the league recently so it's a case of trying to keep that going.

"There were a lot of positives to take from our win over St Mirren but this is a different type of challenge away from home.

"The players are all looking forward to it and so they should be with what's at stake."

United have a slight doubt over goalkeeper Radoslaw Cierzniak who is carrying an ankle injury from the Inverness game. Defender Andrew Robertson has been suffering from a dead leg but should be available.

Georgios Samaras is a major doubt for Celtic after having stitches in a knee injury sustained last week at Partick Thistle.

Midfielder Joe Ledley did not train on Friday due to a back problem but should be okay and left-back Emilio Izaguire has recovered from a head knock picked up against Thistle.

James Forrest (ankle), Charlie Mulgrew (heel) and Derk Boerrigter (ankle) are back in contention, and while Kris Commons (hamstring) should be back for the Champions League game against Ajax in Amsterdam next Wednesday night, he is unlikely to feature against United.

Celtic's Champions League hopes suffered a blow on Friday as captain Scott Brown's appeal against the length of his suspension was dismissed by UEFA.

The midfielder was banned for two matches on top of his automatic one-game suspension for being sent off in the Group H clash against Barcelona on October 1, when he flicked a leg out at Neymar after fouling the Brazilian.

Brown missed the home game against Ajax as a result and travelled to Geneva to plead his case to UEFA's appeals committee, eager for the chance to return early.

However, that appeal was unsuccessful and the Scotland international will sit out the return game against Ajax next Wednesday and the visit of AC Milan later in the month.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon said: "It has been turned down. We didn't win the appeal. It is disappointing because we thought we had a good case.

"He will be flying back and meeting up with the squad tonight (Friday). I feel the ban is excessive for a misdemeanour, or whatever you want to call it.

"I am sure we had a fair hearing but it wasn't to be. It is a blow for us and for Scott and we will just have to deal with it."

Source: PA