Football: Tension builds for Celtic

Scottish round-up
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The Independent Online
The Scottish Football Association is confident that their backing of England's attempt to host the World Cup finals in 2006 will bring some of the games north of the border, should the bid prove successful. The governing body of the Scottish game has been involved in negotiations and are ready to support England's bid confident that in Ibrox, Celtic Park, Hampden and Murrayfield they have venues which could stage such matches.

Of more immediate concern to the residents of one of those grounds, Celtic, is the most important eight days they have faced for years. The Tennents Scottish Cup quarter-final draw means that victory over Hibernian at Easter Road tonight would propel Tommy Burns' side into a double-header with Rangers which will determine the success of their season.

"The thought of a quarter-final against Rangers at Celtic Park is a fantastic incentive for everyone at this club," Tommy Burns said after Saturday's draw. "But before we can even think about that, we have Hibs at Easter Road and that is all we are concentrating on."

The Glasgow giants meet in the final Old Firm game of the season at Celtic Park on 16 March, with the prospective cup tie scheduled for 8 March. Celtic go into tonight's game withoutJorge Cadete, their top scorer, who is with the Portuguese squad preparing for a friendly with Greece on Wednesday.

The cup draw has given smaller clubs a chance to share in the glory in the absence of some of the bigger names. Aberdeen have already fallen along with Dunfermline, of the Premier Division, going out at the hands of the First Division side, Falkirk, whose winning goal in a 2-1 victory was scored by David Hagen, the former Rangers striker. Falkirk's reward is a home game against the Premier League's bottom club, Raith Rovers, who came from behind to beat Brechin City 2-1.

Celtic or Hibernian will go out tonight while a replay next week will determine whether Hearts or Dundee United progress to a home game against either Motherwell or Hamilton. A late equaliser by Jim Hamilton earned Hearts a 1-1 draw at Tynecastle yesterday, during which tempers flared in both dug-outs and United's manager, Tommy McLean, was spoken to by a police officer at one stage.

Morton and Dundee will meet again at Dens Park tomorrow night to decide who will play Kilmarnock. They disposed of Clyde thanks to a Paul Wright penalty.

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