Celtic V Hibernian at Celtic Park : Match Preview

05 April 2013 06:31
Celtic V Hibernian - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Twin incentive for Celtic players

Charlie Mulgrew insists Celtic players have a double incentive for securing a win over Hibernian.

Victory at Parkhead could see the Hoops clinch the Clydesdale Bank Premier League title, if nearest rivals Motherwell lose to St Mirren.

And, with a William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final against Dundee United looming, Mulgrew believes those given the nod against Hibs could also be playing for their place at Hampden.

The defender said: "At a club like Celtic, there is always pressure and everybody is fighting to get into the team every week, especially when there's a semi-final coming up.

"I'm sure everybody will want to be involved with that game. Our focus will be on trying to win on Saturday.

"It's been a successful campaign for us so far. We've had a good run in the Champions League and we're clear at the top of the SPL by quite a few points.

"There is still a lot to be done before we win the league. We'll just need to wait and see what happens on Saturday."

Kris Commons will be given the chance to prove his fitness ahead of the potential title clincher.

The winger was carried off with an ankle knock last week but has a chance of featuring at Parkhead, while Mikael Lustig (knee) is expected to be back in contention after missing the 1-1 draw with St Mirren.

Victor Wanyama is available, with an appeal over his red card not heard until next week, but Scott Brown (abductor problem), Adam Matthews (hamstring) and James Forrest (back) are set to remain on the sidelines.

Hibernian midfielder Kevin Thomson does not expect Celtic fans to bother about his Rangers connections when he takes to the pitch at Parkhead.

The former Ibrox midfielder, 28, is in his second spell at the Easter Road club which brought him through its ranks but does not fear falling victim to the usual Old Firm abuse.

"I think the Celtic fans will be more bothered about other things rather than me," the former Middlesbrough player told Press Association Sport.

"I don't think they will give me a second thought. I will just go there, hopefully enjoy the game and hopefully put on a good show.

"Old Firm games are brilliant, probably the best game you can ever play in. I was fortunate enough to have a good record against Celtic when I was at Rangers although I had a couple of disappointing results when I was at Hibs the first time.

"It is a difficult place to go for any team - you seen the top European sides struggle in the Champions League. So we are under no illusion, it is going to be a difficult game.

"The boys need to enjoy it first and foremost, and not get caught up in the atmosphere. But we need to go there believing. What's the point of going there thinking you can't get anything out of it?

"That's not the way I play football. I will be telling the boys that we fancy our chances and try to get them up for it. Neil Lennon will be the same, he will have them up for it. But it is a chance for us to go there and spoil the party."

Hibs boss Pat Fenlon welcomes back defenders Paul Hanlon and Alan Maybury

Hanlon has fully recovered from a hip injury and full-back Alan Maybury returns from suspension.

Fenlon said: "Paul Hanlon has been back training for the last couple of weeks so he has a chance of coming back into the team and Alan Maybury is back from suspension so we are okay with numbers."

Source: PA