Celtic eye Scottish crown against bogey side
Celtic need only a point away to bogey team Kilmarnock on Saturday to clinch their first Scottish Premier League title in four years.
After Rangers scored a last-gasp winner against Motherwell last weekend to stop the Hoops clinching the title in record time Celtic know that their destiny is now in their own hands.
Neil Lennon's side are 18 points clear with six games remaining and a draw at Rugby Park will be enough to trigger the celebrations amongst the Parkhead faithful.
Last year, Rangers cantered to a 5-1 win to clinch the title at the same venue, but Celtic assistant manager Johan Mjallby admits he doesn't care how the Parkhead club's 43rd title is won. "It doesn't really matter how we win the game," the Swede said.
"I think the energy to press teams, which is what we had been doing for a long spell of the season, is maybe something we have been lacking in the last four or five games. We are trying to get back to that, and, if we do, we have a good chance to get off to a good start in this game. But it doesn't really matter how we win it - I'll be delighted if we win it in the 90th minute."
Celtic will not be taking anything for granted after being pushed by Kilmarnock in their meetings this season. Killie raced into a 3-0 half-time lead the last time Celtic visited Rugby Park only for the Hoops to clinch a remarkable 3-3 draw before the Ayrshire side defeated the Glasgow giants in March's League Cup final to ruin the Old Firm side's dreams of a domestic treble.
And Mjallby admitted his side would be wary of their opponents. "You have to give them credit for their win against us in the final," he said.
"They played well and stopped us from really penetrating them, even if we did create a lot of chances. They are very good on the ball and play good, passing football. So we are going to go through that game at Hampden again and see where we fell short and try to make sure we don't make the same mistakes again."
Killie admit to tough task
Kilmarnock are looking for their fourth win over the Old Firm this season having defeated Rangers home and away to add to their League Cup win over Celtic. But manager Kenny Shiels says it will be hard to replicate that form again when Celtic come calling on Saturday.
"It's difficult to reproduce," the Kilmarnock manager said. "We were lucky in the final, we were lucky in the 3-3 draw, we were lucky against Rangers twice. We're playing against better players so when you beat them or draw with them, it's a great feeling of satisfaction. To beat Celtic or draw with them, or be close to them, is an achievement.
"If we try to match Celtic, they will walk all over the top of us. We have got to try to get an edge if we can and that's all we can hope for. It's mission impossible to be honest, it really is. They are coming to win a title and we are just little Kilmarnock so it's going to be difficult."
Rivals Rangers, who were docked 10 points after entering administration in February, will hope to put their financial worries to one side as they continue their push for second place when they take on St Mirren at Ibrox.
Scottish Premier League fixtures
Kilmarnock v Celtic
Aberdeen v Dundee United
Dunfermline v Hearts
Rangers v St Mirren
St Johnstone v Inverness CT
Hibernian v Motherwell