Scottish Football: Celtic look for better luck

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The Independent Online
CELTIC simply cannot afford to lose their Tennents Scottish Cup third-round tie against Motherwell at Fir Park today, yet Lou Macari, their manager, is realistic enough to know the threat of defeat is a very real one after Motherwell's 2-1 win over his side at the same venue 18 days ago, writes David McKinney.

'If we play the same way as that day, I would be happy enough,' said Macari, who watched his side go down after twice hitting the woodwork and having a shot scrambled off the line.

However, the cup can be an unforgiving tournament, and the Celtic players go into this tie knowing a bad result could effectively end their search for honours for another season.

The holders, Rangers, start their quest for a third successive Cup success with their first home tie for two years, against First Division Dumbarton. The clubs met in the League Cup earlier in the season, with Rangers being held to a 1-0 win - a result which has Walter Smith, the Rangers manager, sounding a note of caution. 'Dumbarton have enough experience to make it difficult for any team, and the last result will hopefully help our motivation,' he said.

The Premier Division strugglers, Dundee, will be wary about their trip to First Division Clydebank, while St Johnstone could have an uncomfortable afternoon against Hamilton. Aberdeen, though, will be confident of disposing of East Stirlingshire at Falkirk's Brockville Park.