Hearts V Celtic at Tynecastle Stadium : Match Preview

27 November 2012 05:31
Hearts V Celtic - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

McGlynn wary of wounded Celtic

Manager John McGlynn has warned his Hearts side to be wary of a response from Celtic in tomorrow's Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash at Tynecastle.

Despite their Champions League win over Barcelona, Celtic are reeling after Saturday's 1-0 defeat at home to Inverness, with manager Neil Lennon critical of his side's domestic form and threatening to quit after an altercation with supporters.

The demotion of Rangers to the Irn-Bru Third Division led many to believe the SPL would be a formality for Celtic, but the procession has not materialised and Hearts will be looking to inflict the visitors' fourth loss of the season.

McGlynn does not believe Lennon is under additional strain at Parkhead and is ready for a similar reaction to when Celtic were narrowly beaten in Barcelona and lost to Kilmarnock the following weekend, before bouncing back with an emphatic 5-0 midweek win over St Johnstone.

"I don't think he's under any pressure," McGlynn said.

"Celtic are doing the best they've probably done in the Champions League ever; they've picked up more points than anyone would've expected.

"If they've maybe taken their eye off the ball a wee bit in defeats like Saturday, they end up coming out on the Wednesday night and in one of those situations taking five goals off St Johnstone.

"Sometimes it just takes a wee kick up the backside to bring you back down to earth.

"There's been a reaction to their defeat which will certainly have them fired up.

"When they come to Tynecastle they know they have to be at the top of their game. (The Inverness loss) will reinforce that.

"That's something we have to be very aware of and be prepared for."

Hearts, mired in a myriad of financial difficulties, hope for the backing of a full crowd at Tynecastle.

But they will have to do without Danny Grainger for around three months after the left-back suffered a knee injury which could yet require surgery.

Grainger suffered a partial tear of his anterior crucial ligament in Saturday's 0-0 draw at Motherwell and is awaiting news from a consultant before the full prognosis is known.

Kevin McHattie could deputise for Grainger, or Ryan McGowan could switch flanks from right-back.

Meanwhile, Lennon regrets his bust-up with Celtic fans but will continue to back his players when he feels criticism is unjustified.

The Hoops boss dramatically threatened to quit the club after an altercation with several disgruntled supporters during the shock 1-0 Clydesdale Bank Premier League defeat by Inverness at Parkhead on Sunday.

Caley's first league win in the east end of Glasgow was met by a chorus of boos by the home fans but despite the champions having dropped 17 points - four less than in the whole of last season - they remain top of the SPL by one point and can look forward to a Champions League Group G decider against Spartak Moscow next week.

Ahead of the trip to Hearts, the former Celtic skipper reflected on the weekend's events with the help of some humour.

"I regret it, yes, of course," said Lennon. "It's not something I want to do.

"But if I think it (criticism) is unjustified I will voice my opinion.

"I am defending my team. I know it is difficult for fans because they are passionate about the team and want them to do well but sometimes it doesn't help.

"I wasn't getting any stick personally, it was directed towards the team and I was defending the team because they are giving me everything.

"I think the world of my players and think the world of my supporters as well.

"But if I was the manager of Accrington Stanley I would do exactly the same time - although the way the results are going, I might soon be."

Kelvin Wilson returns to the Celtic squad for the clash.

The Hoops defender missed Saturday's 1-0 home SPL defeat by Inverness with flu.

Defender Charlie Mulgrew (virus) and midfielder Paddy McCourt (knock) are doubts, while left-back Emilio Izaguirre could be ready for Saturday's Scottish Cup match against Arbroath following his recovery from a hamstring complaint.

Source: PA

World Cup Group G

Belgium 1 0 0 3 3
England 1 0 0 1 3
Tunisa 0 0 1 -1 0
Panama 0 0 1 -3 0
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