CELTIC are hopeful Jozo Simunovic will be fit to face Molde on Thursday after the defender limped off against Aberdeen, Derek McInnes insists it’s too early to say the title race is over, and Robbie Neilson demands more from his players despite a 4-0 victory at Partick Thistle.
Celtic to sweat over Jozo Simunovic fitness
CELTIC boss Ronny Deila is hopeful defender Jozo Simunovic will be fit for Thursday’s Europa League clash with Molde.
The August signing has been plagued by injury problems since arriving at Celtic Park and limped out of the champions clash with Aberdeen yesterday.
“I haven’t heard anything, but it looked like he sprinted at the end,” said Deila. “I hope it is only cramp and that he’ll be able play on Thursday.” (The Herald)
Deila calls on Celtic players to rise to Molde test
RONNY Deila has challenged his Celtic players to prove that, as individuals, they are better than Norwegian counterparts Molde when the sides meet on Thursday.
The visitors top the group with seven points from the first three games. Deila praised Molde as a team, pointing to the continuity they’ve enjoyed in recent seasons, but insists if he gets better performances throughout the team, then Celtic will be unbeatable.
“Indivually, there are not many players from Molde who will come into my first XI here,” said Deila. “It is going to be a tough game, but I know we have the quality to beat them.” (The Herald)
Derek McInnes: ‘Title race not over despite Dons defeat’
ABERDEEN manager Derek McInnes last night removed his team from the Premiership title race but refused to concede that any challenge to Celtic has evaporated with the 3-1 victory for Ronny Deila’s side at home to the Pittodrie men yesterday.
A Leigh Griffiths double that takes his tally for the season to 16 underpinned a win that allowed Celtic to open up a six-point lead at the top of the table, with Aberdeen now replaced by Hearts in second place.
“I think it’s disrespectful to all the teams, not just Aberdeen, to think a league can be won by October,” McInnes said. “It was similar last season at this time of the year. Everybody said the same thing after we lost [to Celtic in November] and we then went on a very good run after that. (Scotland on Sunday)
Leigh Griffiths brace is KO blow for Dons
THE other day, Leigh Griffiths told how he owed everything to Ronny Deila, and would do all within his power to “dig him out of a hole”.
With his first domestic double of the season, he did more than that yesterday. He dumped Aberdeen into a crater marked “championship also-rans”. In October. In a season when, in the first two months, the Pittodrie side crafted their best ever start to a league season. (Scotland on Sunday)
Robbie Neilson demands more from Hearts players
HEARTS moved into second place with a 4-0 victory at Partick Thistle, though manager Robbie Neilson was not satisfied with the performance of his Hearts players after a lacklustre first half.
There was relief but not the satisfaction for Neilson. His two main strikers weighed in with two goals each but that wasn’t enough of a contribution according to their gaffer. High standards have been set and he made it clear that he won’t happily settle for anything less.
“In the first half we were poor and Partick were the better team. We managed to get the goal with a wee bit of quality and built on that to make it a good day. The strikers scored two good goals but I don’t think they played very well to be honest. The rest of their game could be better and should be better.” (Scotland on Sunday)
Alan Stubbs happy streetwise Hibs have added edge
ALAN Stubbs would be among the first to admit he was not always the most stylish centre-half who ever patrolled the box.
But he usually got the job done – and getting the job done against Rangers today is what Hibernian need to do in order to re-ignite their title hopes.
The Hibs team Stubbs has created is not necessarily one in his own image as a combative, hard-tacking centre-half. But they will need to be streetwise if they are to prevail this afternoon. (Scotland on Sunday)
Colin Cameron sacked by Berwick Rangers
Berwick Rangers have sacked Colin Cameron after yesterday’s 4-1 loss to Montrose at Links Park.
The Shielfield club said last night: “After the defeat at Montrose today we have parted company with player manager Colin Cameron. A further statement will follow after the board meeting on Tuesday night.”
Cameron, 43, pictured, has been in charge at the Borderers since January 2014, however he has been unable to reproduce the success he enjoyed as manager of Cowdenbeath where he led them to a Second Division title in 2012. (Various)