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Strachan urges Celts to put on a final show

25 May 2007 03:21

GLASGOW (AFP) - Merely winning the Scottish Cup final against Dunfermline on Saturday is not enough for Celtic, according to the Parkhead club's manager Gordon Strachan.

For the Scottish Premier League champion's boss, who won the Cup three times as a player with Aberdeen, he wants a stylish performance in addition to victory at Hampden Stadium.

Celtic are massive favourites to complete a league and cup double by seeing off the Pars - who were relegated from the SPL.

However, in recent months Strachan's side have struggled to regain their earlier season form - which saw them go 28 games unbeaten.

Dunfermline, meanwhile, under Irish manager Stephen Kenny, became the SPL's form side in the final few months of the season to almost stage a remarkable escape from the dreaded drop - although they ultimately failed.

While Strachan, who led Celtic to a League Cup and SPL double last season, admits victory is the priority on Saturday - he has also urged his players to try and regain their earlier season form and put on a show for the club's supporters.

He said: "This is my first Scottish Cup final with Celtic and since we've won everything else it would be nice to lift this trophy and finish the season on a high.

"Everyone is looking forward to it and we want to put on a show and a good performance. Winning the cup is paramount, but the players have been told all week that they have to perform.

"Having said that getting the victory is the most important thing because in years to come that is all people will really remember."

Saturday's game will mark the end of Neil Lennon's seven-year love affair with his boyhood heroes Celtic and Strachan wants to send him off with more happy memories.

The Celtic manager said: "We want to give Neil a winning send-off. He knows we will be trying to win it for Celtic Football Club and the team first, but we want to send him off in style as well."

Despite Dunfermline's relegation they have shown they can stage the odd surprise against the bigger sides in this season's Scottish Cup.

Rangers, last year's winners Hearts and Hibernian have all lost to the Fife team in their run to the final.

On Saturday the Pars will be bidding to add the SPL champion's name to that list and lift the Scottish Cup for the first time since beating Hearts 3-1 in 1968.

And Dunfermline manager Kenny has vowed his team will attack Celtic rather than simply defending and trying to hit them on the break.

He said: "The Scottish Cup final is something special. Our build up has not been very good because of our relegation but we couldn't have asked for anything bigger than meeting Celtic at Hampden in the final of this competition.

"Once you get to the final you have to try and win it, there's no point going there and being negative.

"It's a long time since Dunfermline won the Scottish Cup but we have a chance to sort that out on Saturday and we'll give it our best shot."

Celtic have no new injury worries for Saturday's final, although full-back Mark Wilson has revealed he has lost his battle to recover from knee injury despite returning to training.

Dunfermline will be without winger Jim O'Brien, who is on-loan from Celtic with the arrangement stipulating that he would not play against his employers.

Fixtures (1400 GMT)

Saturday

Celtic v Dunfermline

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Info

Competition
Scottish Cup
Date
26 May 2007
Kick-off
16:00
Full-time
0 - 1

Thursday 18 September

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Tuesday 16 September

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