Celtic manager looking for complete performance

Glasgow (AFP) –


Celtic manager Ronny Deila is targeting a repeat performance of their record 8-1 win over Hamilton Academical when the two sides clash at New Douglas Park on Friday evening.

The home thrashing of Martin Canning's side last month was the biggest-ever win in the short history of the Scottish Premiership as the Glasgow giants humbled Hamilton.

However, Accies responded well to the rout and recorded three clean sheets in their next four games while Celtic slipped to disappointing defeats to Ross County -- in the League Cup semi-finals -- and Aberdeen.

The Hoops have since recovered from that dip in form to open up a six-point gap at the top of the table and Deila is hopeful Celtic can replicate the kind of performance that has seen them win their past three matches, including last week's 3-0 defeat of Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

"I expect a tough game. Hamilton have picked up after we beat them the last time and have done better, especially in defence," the Celtic manager said of an Accies side who come into the weekend just a point above the relegation play-off place.

"We need to open them up, create more chances and score more goals. But at the same time we know they can hit us hard on the break and at set-plays, so we need to be focused and prepared.

"That's what we work for every day, to get 90 minutes out of the game.

"What was positive from last week is that we ended the game very well. If you go through the season we have started games well and done well up to 60-70 minutes and then dropped a little bit.

"There could be different circumstances for that and, while it was positive we ended the Inverness game well, we have to keep our good starts going and try and make the good periods last as long as possible."

A victory for Celtic would allow the Hoops to go nine points clear at the top of the table and heap the pressure on nearest rivals Aberdeen, who take on St Johnstone at Pittodrie on Saturday.

However, Deila said his full focus will be on his own side's results.

"I will enjoy a good weekend if we win, but I don't think about what others are doing," Deila said.

"This is a game we need to perform in and get something out of, and if we do that then we will have done our job, and then we will see how the other teams do."

On Saturday, Aberdeen host St Johnstone with the Dons hoping to keep their title challenge alive against a side that has just one win in their past 11 matches.

Bottom of the table Dundee United will hope to build on last week's win against Hearts when they travel to take on Ross County while second-bottom Kilmarnock take on Hearts at Tynecastle.

Fixtures (1500 GMT unless otherwise stated)


Hamilton Academical v Celtic (1945 GMT)


Aberdeen v St Johnstone, Dundee v Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Hearts v Kilmarnock, Motherwell v Partick Thistle, Ross County v Dundee United