Mjallby urges Hoops to keep going

Johan Mjallby has warned Celtic players not to drop into holiday mode before their William Hill Scottish Cup final clash.

Last Updated: 03/05/13 at 16:08 Post Comment

Johan Mjallby: Doesn't want Celtic players losing their winning mentality

Johan Mjallby: Doesn't want Celtic players losing their winning mentality

Johan Mjallby has warned Celtic players not to drop into holiday mode despite another tranche of the Hoops squad being excused duty against Ross County on Sunday.

Kris Commons, Joe Ledley, Efe Ambrose and Kelvin Wilson were all missing from last week's 3-1 defeat at Motherwell after they were given the week off by manager Neil Lennon following his side's retention of their Clydesdale Bank Premier League title.

This week, Georgios Samaras, Charlie Mulgrew, Gary Hooper and Fraser Forster will all definitely miss the trip to Dingwall with Emilio Izaguirre also set to be left out as the champions take a breather before gearing back up for the William Hill Scottish Cup final against Hibernian later in the month.

Lennon was also off today as his assistant manager took the weekly pre-match press conference at their Lennoxtown training base.

The former Celtic stopper said: "Obviously we know we have the crucial cup final which is the most important game but we still have to keep that winning mentality whoever we pick and have confidence going into the final.

"It is important the players don't take their eye off the ball because that means there will be a wee bit of a holiday mode and we don't want to have that.

"It is not as if we are dismissing the other teams but with having the title in the bag, we have this luxury to pick and choose who we are going to play.

"We had the chance over the last few weeks to give some key players some time off because it is going to be a record-early return next season.

"We have to be clever, a lot of our players have played a lot of football this season.

"The break has been good for Joe Ledley, Kris Commons, Efe Ambrose and Kelvin Wilson.

"I know training is different to games but they all looked very fresh. Kris was back in training today and he was a stand-out.

"I think this break has given them a lot of energy, especially mentally.

"It is a good chance (against County) to play some players who have not had much game time, to show the manager that they want to fight for a jersey and give the manager a headache.

"But from next week and onwards there is going to be a lot of focus on the cup final and preparing the players.

"We are all going to send a message to the players that we still have two league games to go and there will be a more intensive outlook in training."

Mjallby expects another tough test in Dingwall, a place where Celtic have picked up only one point from six this season.

The former Sweden international said: "We are still going to pick the strongest team available and try to get the three points.

"It is important to get back on track. We were very disappointed the way we conceded the goals at Motherwell and the way we lost the game and we are looking for improvements.

"We work for a club that demands you win every game, more or less, and that should always be the outlook.

"Whoever we pick from the squad should have that mentality when they go out to play."


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