Celtic build-up to Cup Final overshadowed by events off the pitch

Celtic manager Ronny Deila
Celtic manager Ronny Deila

Sunday brings the first Cup Final of the season at Hampden Park and for Celtic Manager Ronny Delia, a week that should have been all about the build-up to a game that will offer him his first opportunity of tangible success has to an extent been overshadowed by events off the park.

SFA Disciplinary hearings were no sooner out of the way than front-page headlines were screaming about off-field matters concerning Scott Brown – headlines that are unlikely to preclude the Celtic Captain from leading his team out at Hampden.

The disciplinary hearings were of course a direct consequence of last Sunday’s Scottish Cup-tie between Celtic and Dundee United, the same two teams who will come face-to-face on Sunday in the second of four consecutive fixtures.

Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk is available to play after winning his appeal against the red card received at Tannadice as is United’s Paul Paton who was the victim of a clear case of mistaken identity.

Nadir Ciftci however suspended for Dundee United, and will be a serious loss for Jackie McNamara’s side.

Delia was full of enthusiasm as he looked ahead to the game.

“It’s a huge game. I know when Sunday comes I’ll be feeling nervous and excited but we just have to prepare the way we have for other big games that we have played,” he said.

“I believe that if we play well we’ve got the quality in the team to win the game and that’s the target. I hate losing. If Dundee United beat us then it will be easier to accept it but if we play badly and lose then that’s the worst thing.”

Former United men Gary Mackay-Stevens and Stuart Armstrong are unavailable but Celtic will be boosted by the return from injury of Kris Commons. Charlie Mulgrew. Adam Matthews and Mikael Lustig remain unavailable however, while Nil Biton will be a last-minute decision.