December 12, 2012
Hoops boosted by recovering duo
Defender Mikael Lustig and midfielder Paddy McCourt have recovered from hamstring injuries ahead of Celtic's Scottish Cup fourth-round replay against Arbroath at Gayfield Park.
Striker Gary Hooper has recovered from a virus, but midfielder Kris Commons will be out for another seven to 10 days with a thigh injury.
Winger James Forrest will resume training on Monday as he continues his recovery from a hamstring complaint.
Manager Neil Lennon insisted the clash was high on his list of priorities.
"We are taking this game very seriously,'' he said.
"It is a different competition but one where we have had no recent success and we would like to progress so it is another important game.
"The way things have been going in the last week to 10 days, you want to keep that feel-good factor going and this is potentially very dangerous.
"I have been on the end of a few cup upsets as a player and a manager and I don't want that to happen tomorrow.''
Lennon also revealed he was encouraged by Monday's meeting with the Scottish Football Association's compliance officer, Vincent Lunny.
A delegation of Scottish Premier League managers, including Steve Lomas, Kenny Shiels and Jim Jefferies, met with Lunny at Hampden following a recent plea by Lennon for better communication between bosses, referees and the SFA and clearer guidelines on acceptable behaviour.
Lennon has not been in trouble this season but fellow Irishmen Lomas and Shiels have found themselves in hot water recently. St Johnstone manager Lomas, currently subject of an eight-match touchline ban, faces further sanctions after being called before an SFA disciplinary hearing later this month for kicking a water bottle during his team's 1-0 defeat against Hibernian on 28 November.
Kilmarnock manager Shiels has been served with two separate notices of complaint from the Scottish FA.
The Rugby Park boss has to explain critical remarks made about referee Euan Norris after his side's defeat to Inverness on 3 November, and he faces further scrutiny after protesting against the red card shown to his captain Manuel Pascali during a home defeat to St Johnstone last month.
Lunny will meet with all the SPL bosses in the new year but Lennon believes progress has already been made in a bid to eradicate some of the tension between managers and the authorities.
"It was very productive,'' he said.
"It wasn't a question of any heated arguments, it was just points being put across from both sides and John Fleming (SFA's head of referee development) came in for the last hour or so.
"Alex Smith, head of the managers' association, was there and we are hoping to draw up a few proposals to take to Vincent and see where that takes us.
"One rule was brought up, (what can be said in post-match press conferences) we feel that there is a vague sort of grey areas in the rules and sanctions on managers as well.
"I don't want to go into in-depth because there was a lot of things said that will remain private but it was very productive.''
Arbroath player-manager Paul Sheerin has a fully-fit and suspension-free squad to choose from.
Sheerin's side earned a 1-1 draw at Parkhead with a late Steven Dorsi goal and he is now hoping his men can go one better despite being huge underdogs.
He said: "Celtic are huge favourites to win but we will be going out there looking for a win.
"There has to be a lot of things to happen in our favour to allow that to happen. Our entire team all need to be bang-on with their form and hope a few of the Celtic players do not play well.''