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Celtic roll up sleeves to prepare for a title fight

By Gavin McCafferty

Stefan Scepovic believes Celtic will have to remain in top gear for the rest of the season if they are to retain their title.

The 24-year-old Serbian striker was given a rare start against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on Monday night and scored the clincher in the 2-0 win that took the visitors to within a point of leaders Aberdeen with a game in hand.

It was a powerful performance by the champions after dropping five out of six points in their previous two matches.

The Parkhead squad flew out from Glasgow yesterday for their winter training camp in Gran Canaria, where they will play PSV Eindhoven and Sparta Prague.

Kris Commons, back to his best against Killie, has been left behind on compassionate leave following the death of his uncle in England.

Scepovic claims the Hoops will have to keep up the form showed against Killie when they resume at Hamilton on January 17.

"We need to be 100 per cent," he said. "When teams play against Celtic they always try to get some points.

"Everyone expects us to be 15 points clear in the league because we are Celtic."

Meanwhile, banned Celtic winger Aleksandar Tonev is set to be handed some game time in Gran Canaria, according to Hoops coach John Kennedy.

The 24-year-old Bulgarian, on loan from Aston Villa, is currently serving a seven-match suspension after being found guilty of racially abusing Aberdeen defender Shay Logan.

"If he's eligible to play in these games then we'll certainly look to use him," Kennedy said.

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