Celts Up for the Cup: “We are still capable of being a dominant team that can go and win things,” John Kennedy

Celtic’s Interim Manager John Kennedy yesterday looked back on the frustrating 1-1 draw with theRangers on Sunday and ahead to the Scottish Cup defence which is going to be centre-stage really as it’s the one remaining trophy still up for grabs after the League Cup left the Celtic Boardroom for Perth with the Scottish Premiership trophy scheduled to be Ibrox bound on the 15 May.

On the game at the weekend Kennedy remains concerned about this Celtic side yet again conceding from a set-piece. Can we at least try sticking someone on the back post please? Kennedy addressed this continuing problem Celtic have defending corners and free kicks.  “It is something we have worked a lot on and will continue to work on. We will never stop until we fix it,” he said. “Even when we fix it we’ll continue with that.”

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Photo by Kirk O Rourke

“When you get a setback it’s how you respond to it. That can be the bigger picture, like dealing with losing a cup, or whether it’s in a game, like conceding a goal,” Kennedy observed, as reported by Scottish Sun. “I think we saw on Sunday a team that quickly regrouped. We got hold of the ball again and took control of the game.

“You could see we were quickly passing it about and getting that confidence back again. We felt our way back in to the match, while in the past we’ve maybe been caught thinking about it too much, looked nervy and agitated, and we’ve fallen to pieces a bit.

“But we brought a bit of calmness back to the play on Sunday. When you do that it’s about creating more chances and hopefully scoring goals.

“It’s something we’ve tried to address,” the Interim Celtic boss added before going on to consider the imminent Scottish Cup defence which os next up for Celtic at the start of April and we should find out shortly whether we’ll be playing Falkirk or Arbroath.

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Photo by Stuart Wallace

“The Scottish Cup is important we want to give our supporters as many trophies as possible. This is a hungry group,” John Kennedy said. “There’s been a lot of doubts cast on this side this season. I think Sunday showed that, yes, we’ve under-performed at periods and lost the title.

“But we are still capable of being a dominant team that can go and win things. You can talk about wholesale changes and smashing everything up after a successful period but it takes time to rebuild,” he warned.

The Celtic interim Manager also made sure that he had time to praise young defender Stephen Welsh – the latest Celtic player to receive some pretty gruesome and underhand foul play by theRangers striker Alfredo Morelos, in an incident that has apparently been completely overlooked by the media. Funny that.

Kennedy wasn’t asked about that incident but he was happy to talk about a young player he has coached for several years throughout his Celtic development all the way up to become a first team regular starter. “Stephen Welsh had a quiet game on Sunday, that’s a GREAT thing for a centre-back,” the Interim Manager noted.”If you’re quiet then it means you are not making any mistakes.

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Photo: Stuart Wallace

“Stephen is a terrific boy, and he deserves his place in the team right now. He’s consistent, knows what he is doing and he understands his role. He’s a real team player, who puts his body on the line when he has to.

“He’s also improved his distribution massively. His performances are getting better and better all the time. Stephen needs to stick with it and keep progressing.”

In a season of very few bright spots and pluses, the emergence of Stephen Welsh is certain one.

Photo by Stuart Wallace

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About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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