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Celtic's Lustig relishes battle as crunch time looms

Celtic defender Mikael Lustig feels they are hitting form and fitness at the perfect time as they prepare for some momentous cup ties and respond to a title challenge.

With Celtic and Aberdeen vying for top spot in the Scottish Premiership, Lustig helped his team to a third consecutive win by scoring a double in a 4-0 win over Motherwell on Wednesday night.

The Swede came within inches of a second-half hat-trick when he hit the bar in the closing stages as he marked his comeback from a two-month injury lay-off in some style.

The 28-year-old is looking for more action when Celtic face Ross County in Dingwall today in their final game before the eagerly-awaited Scottish League Cup semi-final against Rangers.

"Hopefully I can stay fit now, but of course we know we have a lot of important games and fun games coming up in February," he said.

"The Rangers game of course is a massive game, but also the cup game against Inter Milan is going to be big as well. You always want to play in the big games so all the players will want to be part of that."

Aberdeen recently matched Celtic's earlier eight-match winning league run, which has jolted Celtic into action in recent weeks.

And with the likes of James Forrest joining Lustig in overcoming injury and a rejuvenated Leigh Griffiths regaining his place in the team, the Swede feels they have the resources to meet the demands of competing on four fronts.

"We need to be focused on every game now," Lustig said.

"Aberdeen have done really well and if they keep winning we need to win as well."

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