WHILE everyone at Celtic has their eyes trained on completing a domestic double this season, defender Efe Ambrose is aiming for a remarkable personal treble in his first year at the club.
The Scottish Premier League champions have the chance of finishing the campaign on a high when they take on Hibernian in the William Hill Scottish Cup final later this month. However, Ambrose, who joined Celtic last summer, has already experienced cup glory with Nigeria in February when he was part of the side which won the African Nations Cup.
Ahead of the trip to Ross County in the SPL today he reflected on his first season with Celtic, which also brought a run to the last 16 of the Champions League.
“It is my first time playing in Europe and coming to Celtic was a great move for me,” said the 24-year-old Parkhead defender. “My aim is to keep playing and keep improving. It is going to be a great season but I cannot achieve this on my own. I have to thank everybody because without them I would not be here or have won the Nations Cup. The fans, the players and the manager really made me welcome and made me a better player. Right now the most important thing is the cup final, which I know is going to be a great achievement for us at Celtic because winning the double is something they have not done for a while.”
Celtic let slip a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 when they visited Dingwall in March.Ambrose criticised the state of the pitch but admits that cannot be used as an excuse. He said: “The pitch was s*** and the weather didn’t suit the type of game we wanted to play so it was difficult for us. We have a brilliant pitch at Celtic Park but at other places it is not the same so we just have to adjust to that and, when you put the effort in, it doesn’t matter which pitch you play on.”
Derek Adams is hoping his Ross County side continue their good home record against Celtic. “Our points tally at home against the SPL champions has been good, I couldn’t have asked for any more,” said the manager. “I think the players enjoy the atmosphere and pitting their wits against top-class international players. If we can play to our maximum then we’ll have a good opportunity to beat them.”
A much-changed Celtic side missing Kris Commons, Joe Ledley, Ambrose and Kelvin Wilson went down 3-1 to second-placed Motherwell at Fir Park last week.Georgios Samaras, Charlie Mulgrew, Gary Hooper, and Fraser Forster will all definitely miss the trip to the Global Energy Stadium with Emilio Izaguirre also set to be left out as the champions take a breather before focusing on the Scottish Cup final.
Adams said: “Motherwell’s win last weekend didn’t really help us, it was bit of a hindrance because Celtic don’t like to be beaten and will want to come here and avoid the same scenario. They had a few boys on holiday and they’ll come back in and be rested up, so it’ll be a much-changed team from last weekend.”