Celtic will show no compassion for poor Pars
Wednesday 11 February 2004
John Robertson, the Celtic assistant manager, is adamant his side are in no mood to show compassion for Dunfermline.
Following on from Livingston's crisis, the anxious Pars players have been told that they need to take wage cuts to save the club from being the next to go into administration. But Robertson still expects them to be fired up tonight.
Martin O'Neill's No 2 said: "I don't think the Dunfermline players will come into the game thinking about their off-the-field problems. It is a football match and they will want to win it as much as us. It's not very nice for a lot of clubs in Scotland and I don't have answers for it. Nobody can be happy with what's happened to Livingston, Motherwell, Dundee and Dunfermline."
Robertson also revived the long-forgotten issue of the controversial plastic pitch at East End Park. It will be Celtic's first time on the surface, having opened the season there with a goalless draw on the grass.
The former Nottingham Forest and Scotland player admits that he hated playing on the plastic in his playing days. "It's there - we've just got to go and play with it and do our best. We will try and get our challenges in and try and pass the ball and see how it goes. I'll tell you what - if we win tomorrow then I'll probably love it."
Celtic will be without the Wales striker John Hartson, who is still struggling with a back injury. Bobo Baldé faces a fitness test. Dunfermline will be without the striker Craig Brewster, who has an ankle injury.
Rangers have fined Fernando Ricksen £10,000 for elbowing a Hibernian player during a cup match. The Dutch international could also be punished by the Scottish Football Association for the incident during last week's CIS Insurance Cup semi-final, which was caught on camera.
Rangers' midfielder Mikel Arteta (hamstring) is doubtful for tonight's visit of Kilmarnock. The de Boer twins, Ronald and Frank, may miss out, but the striker Michael Mols could return after being rested.
Kilmarnock will give fitness tests to Eric Skora, Martin Hardie and Gary Locke, who were all injured during their Tennent's Scottish Cup loss to the Ibrox side on Sunday.
The Hearts midfielder Scott Severin, who underwent surgery yesterday on a groin problem, misses the game against Aberdeen, whose defender defender Kevin McNaughton should be fit to play.
Motherwell have no injury worries as they prepare to entertain Dundee, who have doubts over the defender Brent Sancho. He has a groin problem, Lee Wilkie (knee) is out, and Barry Smith (hamstring) is doubtful.
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