CELTIC are taking nothing for granted ahead of their Scottish Coca-Cola Cup quarter-final with Dundee United at Hampden Park tonight.
The Celts may have beaten United 2-1 at their temporary home earlier in the season in the Premier Division, but in knock-out competitions Ivan Golac's team are a tougher proposition. They have lost only one cup tie since his arrival as manager, and the man in charge at Celtic, Tommy Burns, recognises United's fighting qualities.
'United are proving to be a very good cup side, and certainly they have a lot of flair players,' Burns said. 'In fact, I tipped them myself last season in the early stages to win the Scottish Cup.'
Burns will be without his recent signing, Phil O'Donnell, who is cup-tied from his Motherwell days, but the utility player, Mike Galloway, is fit again and the young striker, Simon Donnelly, has a good chance of starting.
'He made a dramatic impact when he came off the bench on Saturday and is making it very difficult for us to leave him out of the team,' Burns said. Dundee United have two key players doubtful. Dave Bowman is struggling with an ankle knock, while Brian Welsh has a knee injury.
Falkirk, who dismissed the holders, Rangers, in the last round, have several problems for their tie with Aberdeen at Brockville. Steve Fulton and David Weir, who were both sent off against Rangers in the league on Saturday, are unavailable, while the defender, Neil Oliver, is unlikely to play after suffering concussion in a collision with Ian Ferguson. Brighter news for the Bairns is the return of their goalkeeper, Tony Parks, and the striker, Colin Cramb, from suspension.
Aberdeen have a doubt over their goalkeeper, Theo Snelders, who has a calf strain, but Paul Kane should return to midfield. The Dons' manager, Willie Miller, said: 'There's no doubt about it - Falkirk have done well in this competition and, after beating Rangers in the last round, most people would fancy them to beat us. That might put pressure on them, which should be to our advantage.'
The third tie sees Hibernian entertain Airdrie, with the Edinburgh side looking to continue a good run in the competition which has seen them reach two finals in three years. They won the 1991 tournament and were beaten in last year's final by Rangers, but their manager, Alex Miller, refused to bask in former glories.
'Our past record doesn't count for anything,' Miller said. 'We are in the quarter- finals of a cup competition and my players are ready for it because they know our good record can only be continued if they get through.'Reuse content