Glasgow // Celtic manager Ronny Deila is confident his players will respond in the right fashion as they face up to a tough Scottish Premiership title challenge from Aberdeen.
The Hoops only top the table on goal difference, albeit with a game in hand, after slipping to a 2-1 defeat by the Dons at Pittodrie on their last league outing.
That defeat came just three days after Celtic’s League Cup semi-final defeat to Ross County, who are the visitors to Parkhead on Saturday.
The Glasgow giants returned to winning ways last weekend when they knocked minnows East Kilbride Thistle out of the Scottish Cup and Deila says his players are determined to get back on track in the league as they aim to make it five championships in a row.
“They are going to be hungrier. They know it’s very important to keep momentum, win games and put on performances,” the Celtic manager said.
“I’m very impressed by what Aberdeen have done. We have won a lot of games in the league this season, losing three times, so they have done very well and all credit to them.
“Up in Aberdeen is always a tough game. We should have done more there but now we need to just get back on track again.
“You need to react even better if you are pushed from behind.”
Celtic’s hopes of a domestic treble were ended following Ross County’s 3-1 win at Hampden. Deila dismissed the idea that his side would be out for revenge on Saturday but felt they would have a point to prove against Jim McIntyre’s team.
“Revenge is the wrong word but at the same time we really want to bounce back after the semi-final,” said Deila.
“We have to take with us the first 12-15 minutes when we created a lot of chances and do that for 90 minutes.
“It’s about getting momentum now, getting on the right track, winning football games. If we do that, everything will be good, we’ll get confidence in the team and play well.
“We have prepared well and are looking to the game.
“The most important thing is winning but we also want to win by playing beautiful. We want to do both, but if I had to choose I would choose the first one.
“You can’t say we have been unlucky but some of the circumstances have been a little bit difficult because two weeks ago we were talking about us playing fantastic football and scoring lots of goals, the most that have ever been scored under me.
“And then we went into the semi-final and we started very well and it looked like it would be a very good game for us and it turned around.”
Celtic could be boosted by the return of attacking midfielders Kris Commons and Australian international Tom Rogic.
Aberdeen, who have won their last four matches and are unbeaten in 12 league games, will attempt to keep the pressure up on Celtic when they travel to take on Inverness Caledonian Thistle on Monday.
Scottish Premier League fixtures (in UAE time)
Dundee v St Johnstone, 11.45pm
Celtic v Ross County, 7pm
Hamilton v Dundee United, 7pm
Hearts v Partick Thistle, 7pm
Motherwell v Kilmarnock, 7pm
Inverness CT v Aberdeen, 11.45pm
Follow us on Twitter @NatSportUAE
Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/TheNationalSport