Scottish Football: Hannah ready for battle royal

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The Independent Online
CELTIC'S "Mr Versatile", David Hannah, is ready to pitch in to what he believes will be a battle royal today as the Scottish champions seek to avoid double knock-out disappointment at the hands of Airdrie, writes Bryn Palmer.

The Parkhead side have already succumbed to the First Division outfit once this season, losing to a single-goal at the Shyberry Excelsior stadium in their defence of the League Cup.

Hannah missed out on that miserable Lanarkshire night as he has done on numerous occasions this season in a prolonged struggle to win a regular place under Jozef Venglos.

But he believes his combative style could prove invaluable today as Celtic look to mount a serious Scottish Cup campaign on the resumption of action north of the border after the winter shutdown.

"I think the game will suit my style of play because Airdrie are going to be very physical in the middle of the park," he said.

Like Celtic, Kilmarnock will also have a recent cup setback against their third-round opponents for extra motivation today, after succumbing to their bitter rivals, Ayr, at the same stage last year.

A former Killie player, Andy Millen, knows what it means to taste victory on both sides of this bitter local divide and is banking on leading Ayr to another famous win today.

"When you are playing for either club you know what is required because this game means the world to both sets of fans," he said.

Other Premier League sides who look vulnerable to a possible upset include bottom club Dunfermline, away at Partick Thistle, Dundee - who travel to face Greenock Morton - and Aberdeen, who host Second Division leaders Livingston.

Rangers should dispose of Third Division Stenhousemuir, for whom defender Graeme Armstrong will be playing his 1,000th domestic game, at Ibrox, while Highland League Huntly are out to maintain the non-League interest at Falkirk.

The holders, Hearts, meanwhile are involved in the only all-Premier League meeting, at Motherwell tomorrow, with defender David Weir admitting: "Not much has gone right in the League. This is a massive game for the club. It is imperative that we win it."

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