Burns rallies his troops

SCOTTISH FOOTBALL
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The Independent Online
SCOTTISH FOOTBALL

Celtic's manager, Tommy Burns, has instructed his players to forget about the forthcoming Tennents Scottish Cup tie with Rangers and concentrate on picking up three points against Hearts at Parkhead today.

Rangers lead the Premier Division by seven points and Celtic will be desperate for Aberdeen to avoid defeat against the champions at Pittodrie.

Burns, who is likely to bring in the Italian defender, Enrico Annoni, said: "We are going into a vital stage of the season and a period which could make or break it for us. These are the kind of games every top player wants to be involved in."

Paul Gascoigne's ankle injury looks like keeping him out of Rangers' crucial League and Cup double-header against Celtic. He is due to have his plaster removed on Monday but will not be back before the Cup tie on Thursday or the League match, also at Parkhead, on 16 March. The Ibrox side will be without Derek McInnes at Aberdeen today.

Roy Aitken, the Aberdeen manager, wants a big improvement on last week's defeat at Dunfermline. "The application, attitude and desire could be better, and the players have admitted that," he said. John Inglis, Billy Dodds and Dean Windass are suspended while Duncan Shearer and Stewart McKimmie are out injured.

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