Ross County V Celtic at Victoria Park : Match Preview

04 May 2013 01:31
Ross County V Celtic - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Home form enthuses Adams

Manager Derek Adams is hoping his Ross County side continue their good home record against Celtic when the Clydesdale Bank Premier League champions visit.

The Hoops were fortunate to snatch an injury-time equaliser in a 1-1 draw at the start of the season.

However, when Neil Lennon's side visited again in March the home side dramatically fought back from two goals down to win 3-2 and the County boss is looking for his players to reach those heights again.

"Our points tally at home against the SPL champions has been good, I couldn't have asked for anymore," said Adams.

"At the start of the season I'm sure we would've taken that and in fact are lucky not to have up picked up six points against them.

"We've played really well against them at home and it'll be another terrific atmosphere tomorrow.

"I think the players enjoy the atmosphere and pitting their wits against top class international players, if we can play to our maximum then we'll have a good opportunity to beat them."

A much-changed Celtic side missing Kris Commons, Joe Ledley, Efe Ambrose and Kelvin Wilson went down 3-1 to second-placed Motherwell at Fir Park last week.

Georgios Samaras, Charlie Mulgrew, Gary Hooper, and Fraser Forster will all definitely miss the trip to the Global Energy Stadium with Emilio Izaguirre also set to be left out as the champions take a breather before focusing on the William Hill Scottish Cup final against Hibernian later in the month.

Adams said: "Motherwell's win last weekend didn't really help us, it was bit of a hindrance because Celtic don't like to be beaten and will want to come here and avoid the same scenario.

"They had a few boys on holiday and they'll come back in and be rested up, so it'll be a much-changed team from last weekend."

Hoops defender Ambrose criticised the state of County's pitch ahead of the trip north but Adams insists it is of no great benefit to his players either.

He said: "The surface here at Victoria Park has been a disadvantage to us because of the way we like to play football and get the ball down.

"It's been difficult but I think every team has found it tough going."

County are set to name an unchanged squad as defender Branislav Micic remains out with a dislocated shoulder and goalkeeper Mark Brown is also on the sidelines with a fractured hand.

While everyone at Celtic has their eyes trained on completing a domestic double this season, Ambrose is aiming for a remarkable personal treble in his first year at the club.

The Clydesdale Bank Premier League champions have the chance of finishing the campaign on a high when they take on Hibernian in the William Hill Scottish Cup final later this month.

However, Ambrose, who joined Celtic from Israeli Premier League club FC Ashdod last summer, has already experienced cup glory with Nigeria in February when he was part of the side which won the African Nations Cup with a 1-0 win over Burkina Faso in Johannesburg.

Ahead of the trip to Ross County in the SPL, he reflected on his first season with the Hoops, which also brought a run to the last-16 of the Champions League.

"It is my first time playing in Europe and coming to Celtic was a great move for me," said the 24-year-old Parkhead stopper.

"My aim is to keep playing and keep improving and do better than what I am doing now.

"It is going to be a great season but I cannot achieve this on my own.

"I have to thank everybody because without them I would not be here or have won the Nations Cup.

"The fans, the players and the manager really made me welcome and made me a better player.

"Right now the most important thing is the cup final, which I know is going to be a great achievement for us at Celtic because winning the double is something they have not done for a while."

Commons, Ledley, Ambrose and Wilson will return after they were given the week off by Lennon following their title triumph.

Lassad Nouioui (calf) and Scott Brown (abductor) remain on the sidelines and while Adam Matthews (hamstring) and James Forrest (knock) have returned to training, they are not yet ready to play.

Source: PA