DUNDEE manager Paul Hartley believes his side have every right to be confident of causing an upset in tomorrow’s Scottish Cup fifth round tie against Celtic at Dens Park.
The Dark Blues host Ronny Deila’s Premiership leaders in the televised tie of the round, with a place in the quarter-final up for grabs for the winners.
And Hartley, who this week celebrates one year in charge of the Tayside club, reckons they have cause to be optimistic having run their Glasgow opponents twice in the league so far this season.
He said: “I don’t think the pressure is on us on Saturday.
“Celtic are obviously the favourites but in the games against them so far this season we’ve run them close. We’ve given them two good games.
“Back in September, we could have won the first game at Dens Park in the last 20 minutes.
“But I actually felt we played better at Celtic Park in the game there in November.
“In terms of our football, I thought we played well and passed the ball well but lost 2-1 on the day.
“When you come up against Celtic, especially away from home, you can find yourself defending for long periods of the game. But I didn’t feel we did that on that occasion.
“As for the game at Dens, it was end to end and we could have won it late on when we had a good chance.
“But we’ll give ourselves a chance on Saturday and that’s all we can do as far as we’re concerned.
“We’ll set a team out to be as attack-minded as possible and hopefully take whatever chances come our way.”
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Dundee savoured a dramatic 2-1 win over Aberdeen in the previous round and are now gearing up to face a Celtic side buoyed by last weekend’s League Cup semi-final victory over Rangers.
It’s a tough ask for the Tayside club but their manager would not have it any other way.
Hartley said: “I think if you’re going to progress in the cup then you have to win these games to win the cup. There’s never an easy game in the cup.
“You could go and face a lesser team and go and get put out in a banana skin tie.
“They couldn’t have come any harder than Aberdeen - but we managed to get through that and now we’re facing Celtic.
“I don’t think the players need motivation to play against Celtic in terms of what’s required.
“If we win the game, then we’re in the quarter-final and it opens up a wee bit.
“I wouldn’t need motivation to go and play in a game like this when you’re on the television, paying against the top team in Scotland.
“I think the players are ready.”
Meanwhile, new boys Paul Heffernan and Alex Harris are both cup-tied for the weekend, while Gary Harkins and Iain Davidson are out injured.