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Brady spells out his battle plan for a dangerous mission

james traynor

9 Jan 1993

THE Tennents Scottish Cup tie against Clyde may be fraught with danger, but Celtic will probably be relieved to escape back into the actual playing of the game following the flak which has been hurled their way since Thursday night's decision to go against their Super League colleagues, writes James Traynor.

However, they should proceed carefully.

Douglas Park and that ground's lodgers, Clyde, can be difficult obstacles, and if Celtic were to be dismissed at this early stage of the cup, it would seem then as though the entire world was against them.

Their season would be over, but the criticism of the club, from the efficiency of the tea ladies right through to the work of the playing staff and directors, would be liable to derision.

It is up to Liam Brady and the players he sends out to put down Clyde's challenge and give those who follow this team genuine hope that all is not lost.

"The players will have to be very professional," said Brady, who recognises the club's season now depends on a lengthy cup run.

"There is always a strain on teams in the cup when they play sides who have nothing to lose, and Clyde are a team who like to knock the ball around."

The manager expressed concern about Celtic's lack of goals, but pointed out that kind of failing could be reversed quickly, and it is probably appropriate at this point to record the fact that Tommy Coyne is back in the squad and will play up front, especially if, as seems likely, Andy Payton fails a morning fitness test.

Coyne has been injured and out of favour for what must have seemed to him at least a decade, and he might now have a chance to re-establish himself by applying the finishing touch to Celtic's attractive play.

"I don't just want us to play pretty football," said Brady.

"I also want us to win, and I want to make that clear."

Brady is likely to be without Tony Mowbray, although both

Gary Gillespie and Dariusz Wdowczyk are back in the squad, while Clyde are not sure about the fitness of Davie Thompson.

The second division side, however, are entitled to be relaxed about the third-round tie, and their manager, Alex Smith, who directed St Mirren and Aberdeen to Scottish Cup triumphs, has been telling his players to make sure they enjoy the occasion.

"They've been doing well and there are a few good young players in the side," said Smith.

"They are all excited about the tie, and the fact that people are identifying this game as one in which there could be an upset is a tribute to us more than an indication of Celtic's plight.

"You know, Celtic are one of the few big sides who have not suffered a trauma in the cup and the worst I want my players to achieve is a narrow defeat.

If they draw they will be able to play at Celtic Park and earn the club some money, while if they win they would immortalise themselves."

The other half of the Old Firm, Rangers, also are in Lanarkshire today and they expect a tough afternoon at Fir Park against a Motherwell side who are beginning to show signs of being more alive than most of us had thought.

"They are now collecting points and their only defeat recently was to Aberdeen," said Walter Smith, who named a 16-man squad which contained the names of Scott Nisbet, Neil Murray, and Steven Pressley.

"I don't think Motherwell will be one of the teams in danger of relegation at the end of the season, and if the tie is anything like the one between us last season, it will be a good match."

It seems that every time Rangers step on to the pitch they are faced with a big match, and pressure is something the players at Ibrox have come to expect.

They travel confident of maintaining their remarkable run of matches without defeat, which was stretched to 30 in midweek when they beat Dundee United, who should have a relatively comfortable afternoon at Tannadice against Meadowbank Thistle.

Hearts, too, should advance to the fourth round, but the Tynecastle side's manager, Joe Jordan, has great respect for Huntly.

Jordan believes the Highland League have something to offer the senior game and, having watched Huntly in action, he has been impressing upon his own players the need to be at their best.

The fitness of Derek and Ian Ferguson is causing Jordan some concern.

Neil Orr, who has a sore back, is Hibernian's only injury worry for their tie against St Mirren, who have Easter Road manager, Alex Miller, wary.

"St Mirren may not be a premier division team but they are a premier division club," he said.

"They have a lot of experience and a good cup tradition."

Aberdeen will have Stephen Wright, who has served his two-game suspension, back in their defence for the match against Hamilton, but the best Mixu Paatelainen can hope for is a place on the bench.

Hamilton head for Pittodrie with their manager, Iain Munro, saying his team have everything to gain.

"We will cause Aberdeen problems," he says.

"There can be inconsistency when building a team with youngsters, as Aberdeen are doing, and it is up to us to exploit this."

Dundee and St Johnstone face tricky ties against first and second division clubs respectively and both will have to go carefully.

Dumbarton, who are at Dens Park, can be dangerous, while Forfar, who travel to McDiarmid Park, are capable of making life difficult.

Taken from the Herald

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