McManus dampens talk of cup final rout

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The Independent Online

Stephen McManus and his team-mates would settle for a one-goal win over Dunfermline in tomorrow's CIS Insurance Cup final, despite beating them 8-1 last month.

The 23-year-old Celtic defender has ruled out any chance of another goal spree at Hampden Park. He said: "It's going to be a very hard game and Dunfermline will be hurting from the last time. They will be coming here to Glasgow to win, but hopefully we'll go out there and win again. It won't be possible to score eight against them again.

"We did well in that game [on 18 February] and Dunfermline didn't play as well as they would have liked."

Celtic's players will wear the number seven on shorts in tribute to the late Jimmy Johnstone, but McManus played down talk of seven goals. "We're not looking at it like that," he said. "It's a cup final and we'll be taking it seriously, just as Dunfermline will. We are not interested in how the scoring goes as long as it's us who win the trophy at the end."

McManus said the outpouring of emotion in Johnstone's memory had reminded the players of how fortunate they are.

"It is a wee reminder to everybody just how lucky we are to be in the job we're doing," he said. "That's the most important thing and the fans understand that. We'll go into the cup final to win the game. That's all we can focus on."

McManus also claimed Celtic are still hurting from last season, when they threw away the league title on the final day, and that winning today would go some way to easing the pain of losing out to Rangers.

"Last season hurts really bad for the players and the fans," he said. "Nobody expected it to pan out the way it did but that's football and you brush yourself down and get on with it. The best way to come back is to win trophies and we are looking to win as many games as we can."

Dunfermline's midfielder Lee Makel has been added to their squad after missing the league win over Aberdeen last weekend with a poisoned toe.

The midfielder Darren Young is out for the rest of the season with a stress fracture, though, and Scott Muirhead and Stephen Simmons are cup-tied.

Celtic's Wales striker John Hartson is suspended for the match after being booked in the semi-final victory over Motherwell.

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