Brown return inspires Hoops
Celtic midfielder Scott Brown returns to action tonight vowing that there is still a "long way to go" in the Scottish Premier League title race.
Brown, voted PFA Scotland player of the year last week, was suspended for the last two matches against Aberdeen and Rangers and watched from home as the Hoops lost 1-0 at Ibrox on Saturday to surrender their lead at the top of the table to their greatest rivals. Rangers lead by two points with three games remaining but victory over Dundee United tonight would take Celtic top again ahead of their arch-rivals' visit to Hibernian tomorrow.
The odds have shifted in favour of Walter Smith's men preventing the Parkhead side capturing their fourth title in succession but Brown remains confident of another twist in the title race. "It's been hard missing the last two matches but that's my ban over and I can't wait to get going again," Brown told Celtic's official website.
"The boys were excellent against Aberdeen and I felt we were really unlucky against Rangers on Saturday. We had a lot of the ball, created a few chances but just couldn't get the goal we needed. But there's a long way to go yet.
"Look at last season when we were written off and ended up winning the league on the last day. It's not over - not by a long way. There are only two points between the sides and we have to look after ourselves - and make sure that we can capitalise on any slip-ups."
The Scotland midfielder added: "It's not an easy end to the season for either side. We have three tough games and so do Rangers. We came in on Sunday morning and started to think about the United game. We are aiming to get three points from that match and hopefully put some pressure on Rangers.
"I'm sure the Celtic supporters will get right behind us as they always do and we will respond to that. I'm fit and ready to play. The manager knows I'm available for selection and it would be brilliant to get out there and play my part. I believe we can still win this league and I'll be doing everything I can to do that."
Dundee United midfielder Morgaro Gomis hopes the pressure of playing catch-up in the title race will prey on Celtic minds tonight. The Tangerines travel to Parkhead with no regard for the championship because they are embroiled in a battle of their own with Hearts for third place and a spot in next season's Europa League.
Gomis, who has repeatedly excelled on the big stage since arriving from Cowdenbeath two seasons ago, is relishing the prospect of playing in such a high-stakes encounter. Gomis knows how difficult it will be for Craig Levein's men to emerge victorious - they have not won in the East End of Glasgow since season 1992/93 - but is aware that pressure can make anything happen.
He said: "After losing the Old Firm game, Celtic have real pressure on them and that might have an impact on the match. Everyone is focusing on what the game means for them now but it's just as big for us. They are maybe going for the title but we're equally desperate to get that third place, so we'll be going out to win.
"Both teams need to win so it could be a really good game for the supporters. As the gaffer said, we don't care who wins the league because our only aim is to catch Hearts."