Mulgrew may return for Celtic

Celtic boss Neil Lennon is hopeful that Charlie Mulgrew will be passed fit for the New Year's Day match against Partick Thistle.

Last Updated: 31/12/13 at 15:45 Post Comment

Charlie Mulgrew: Has been absent since the 6-1 defeat in Barcelona

Charlie Mulgrew: Has been absent since the 6-1 defeat in Barcelona

The full-back has been absent since the 6-1 defeat by Barcelona earlier this month due to a groin injury, but could return for the visit of Thistle.

Fellow defender Adam Matthews and winger James Forrest proved their fitness in recent games, although the match has come too soon for Derk Boerrigter, who is nearing a comeback after a hamstring problem.

"We are hoping Charlie will be fit," said Lennon.

"Having Charlie back will give us a bit of boost, we have missed him at times because he is such a good player.

"We will be a little bit stronger going into the game.

"Adam Matthews got a full 90 minutes, James Forrest played most of the game so both of them will feel the benefit of that going into Wednesday."

Celtic stretched their unbeaten run to 18 games over the festive period, but had to work for narrow 1-0 away wins at St Johnstone and Inverness.

Lennon's men return to Celtic Park on Wednesday and he hopes the players will produce another free-scoring display in front of their own fans.

"Thistle do play good football," said Lennon. "They are pretty rigid in the way they play, 4-3-3, but they have good players in midfield and a striker in (Kris) Doolan who can score goals so we have to make sure our concentration levels are good.

"But it is great to be back home.

"After really tough back-to-back games away from home I think the players will be looking forward to getting out at Celtic Park and playing.

"Teams have made it pretty difficult for us to break them down at times but we have played very well at home.

"The pitch is always in pretty good condition and after a good win against Inverness the players are looking forward to it."

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lassic management. Build them up and then knock them back. Raise expectations and then dampen them. Create a dynamic where by you demand the most from your team, but where the team are given room to manoeuvre unexpected or unwanted results. Classy work by Van Gaal, he really reminds me a lot of me. A smart cookie, make no doubt.

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