Dundee manager Paul Hartley admits he’s been losing sleep over their Old Firm double header – but is still relishing the prospect.
Hartley takes his side to Parkhead to face champions Celtic tonight before they meet Rangers in Saturday’s eagerly-awaited Scottish Cup quarter-final clash at Ibrox. It has the potential to make or break the Dark Blues’ season as they strive to deliver some long overdue silverware as well as securing back-to-back top-six finishes.
Former Celtic midfielder Hartley, who confirmed defensive duo Darren O’Dea and Thomas Konrad will miss the trip to Parkhead through injury, confessed the thought of how to best use his group of players in the space of a hectic few days has kept him up during the night. Hartley said: “It’s an important game and we’re on a good run. So we’re caught in between things a bit.
“But we have to look at the squad as a whole and try and pick the best team for Wednesday night and the best team for Saturday.
“Since we beat Dumbarton it’s been a case of how do we approach our team selection and systems?
“It’s sort of kept me up every night. What do I do? What’s best for the team and the players? There’s not a lot of rest time between the two games. We’ve had Saturday against Killie then Dumbarton in midweek, and now Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday.
“It’s definitely a test for myself and how I manage the squad.
“I decided on the shape last week that I wanted to play. I just hadn’t decided the personnel. There’s two injuries that have totally changed my thinking.”
The Taysider’s may hand youngster Craig Wighton a long-awaited first start, with Hartley insisting he has no worries about the 18-year-old’s character.
He said: “I’d have no fears whatsoever about starting Craig. He’s shown in the last couple of games that he’s physically changed since he’s been away. He’s had two loan periods that have been different for him.
“It’s all a learning curve and I’ve said that to Craig. I’ve seen real promise in the last couple of weeks when he’s come on.”