Dundee Utd V Celtic at Tannadice Park : Match Preview

03 November 2012 11:31
Dundee Utd V Celtic - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Lennon wary of United challenge

Neil Lennon is wary of Dundee United ahead of Sunday's Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash at Tannadice despite the Taysiders struggling at the wrong end of the table.

Peter Houston's side have only 12 points from nine games this season and were knocked out of the Scottish Communities League Cup quarter-final by Hearts on penalties in midweek.

However, the Celtic boss is not taking much notice of statistics or of their cup exit.

"Dundee United are a good team, they always come on strong in the second half of the season," he said.

"I think they are better off than they were last year which is ominous for a lot of clubs.

"I expect it to be fraught, I expect it to be played at a very good tempo and with no little skill either.

"I don't think there is much between the teams in the SPL.

"I think we are a little bit better in terms of quality and depth of squad but we have to find a consistent run of games and try to break away from the rest if we can.

"But it is very competitive and some of the games have been good to watch."

Celtic go into the game buoyed by their 5-0 home win over St Johnstone in the Scottish Communities League Cup quarter-final on Tuesday night.

The Parkhead side will go into the semi-final draw on Thursday with Hearts, St Mirren and Inverness, who beat Irn-Bru Third Division Rangers 3-0 at Ibrox on Wednesday night to inadvertently reduce the chances of an Old Firm clash this season.

Lennon, though, played down the importance of a game against their old rivals.

He said: "Inverness are probably one of the form teams in Scotland and I thought they might prevail in the game and it proved to be the case.

"I have my own agenda here at Celtic. Rangers are in a different league from us, it is not on my list of priorities to play them.

"If they keep winning in competitions and we keep winning we are going to play them sooner or later.

"It won't happen in the League Cup, it might in the Scottish Cup and if it does then fine we will deal with it then but I have a lot more to think about than that."

Hoops skipper Scott Brown is in the Celtic squad having been battling with a hip problem this season. It was believed Lennon might leave him out with a view to next Wednesday's Champions League clash with Barcelona.

Georgios Samaras (ankle) and James Forrest (hamstring) are unlikely to feature.

Dundee United captain Jon Daly is a doubt after getting a kick on the calf in the club's midweek cup defeat against Hearts.

Defender Gregory Vignal is still sidelined after his recent hamstring tear.

But winger Gary Mackay-Steven is in contention for a start after coming off the bench against Hearts in his long-awaited comeback following knee surgery.

Dundee United manager Peter Houston believes facing Celtic is the ideal fixture for his side following their cup exit.

The Taysiders host Neil Lennon's side on Sunday looking to get over their midweek Scottish Communities League Cup quarter-final defeat by Hearts on a penalty shoot-out.

United are now turning their attentions back to SPL business with Houston hoping the visit of the Glasgow giants can bring out the best in his own side in their efforts to climb the table.

Houston said: "These are always good games to be involved in.

"In many ways, it's probably the right kind of fixture for us in the wake of our cup defeat to Hearts.

"It's not as though we're coming up against a so-called smaller club when we're expected to win being at Tannadice.

"We know it will be very difficult against a really good Celtic side but we've got to give it a go.

"I was more disappointed with the manner in which we lost to Hearts by not playing well like we know we can.

"But the players won't need motivation come Sunday as there will be a big crowd and a good atmosphere to get them going."

United have picked up in the league recently by drawing with on-form Aberdeen and winning away to St Mirren after previously going four games without a goal.

Houston hopes they can rediscover that sort of form as they aim to prove Wednesday's cup exit was a blip.

He said: "We've definitely picked up of late by going back to basics.

"Aberdeen have been on form in the league recently and we drew with them while we worked very hard to overcome St Mirren.

"The league is our bread and butter so we want to pick up more points although Celtic are a team who're getting better and have quality everywhere."

Source: PA

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