Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Football Scottish Celtic

Celtic told to focus on positives

By Ronnie Esplin

Ross County1 Celtic 4: The sports psychologist who has worked with Anthony Stokes believes the Celtic striker and the rest of his team-mates should be able to play free from pressure against AC Milan in their crunch Champions League clash at Parkhead later this month.

The Hoops' 1-0 damaging loss to Ajax in the Amsterdam ArenA on Wednesday night left them bottom of Group H with three points from four games, one behind the Dutch side and two behind the Rossoneri.

Neil Lennon's men have to play already-qualified Barcelona in the Nou Camp in their final group fixture in December which intensifies the need to beat Milan.

However, Dan Abrahams, who worked with Stokes for two years when he was at Hibernian and whose advice helped him win a move to Parkhead in 2010, claims there "is no added pressure on Celtic".

He said: "If they have to win and can't lose – why not go for it?

"If anything, the pressure is taken off and it should make it easier to play with freedom as long as they keep their shape, remember their responsibilities and take their chances. They have to forget about the negatives against Ajax and focus on the positives."

Stokes, who recently signed a new contract with the Scottish champions, has not scored in his last six appearances for the Hoops and it was left to defender Virgil van Dijk and midfielder Joe Ledley to grab two apiece in Saturday's comprehensive Scottish Premiership win over Ross County in Dingwall.

While Celtic are five points clear of Inverness at the top of the table, their comfortable win in the Highlands left County in 10th place.

Staggies manager Derek Adams said: "Celtic were worthy winners. We got back to 2-1 and you are thinking that you maybe have an opportunity to get back without doing anything in the game, but they are a quality side."

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph