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Efe Ambrose stands tall as Celtic's title bid hots up


Tip top: Celtic’s Efe Ambrose feels on top of his game

Tip top: Celtic’s Efe Ambrose feels on top of his game

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Tip top: Celtic’s Efe Ambrose feels on top of his game

Efe Ambrose insists the days of him being singled out as Celtic's fall guy are over. The Nigerian defender, in line to face the league's bottom side Dundee United at Tannadice tonight (7.45pm), has often found the finger of blame pointing his way following a string of high-profile gaffes.

He famously put a serious dent in Ulsterman Neil Lennon's hopes of guiding the Hoops to the quarter-finals of the Champions League in 2013 after handing Juventus two goals on a plate at Parkhead.

And he was slammed by current boss Ronny Deila - whose side are three points clear at the top with a game in hand - this season after another double slip-up saw Fenerbahce fight back from two goals down to claim a Europa League draw in Glasgow.

But Ambrose has thanked the Norwegian, as well as his Celtic colleagues, for standing by him and now claims he has learned to cut out the mistakes.

He said: "Criticism is part of the game, football and life. Whenever you lose someone gets the blame. But when you win, everything is perfect.

"So when you get criticised the important thing is how you get back on your feet. It could be me or it could be someone else. But the most important thing is the team. During that time the team stood by me. They helped me out and were there to pull me out of it.

"So I'll never give up. I always try to do my best, even when I make a mistake. If I do, I try my best to come out of it because the team comes first.

"When I get criticised I just live with it. I just work hard and go back to the drawing board. I look at my mistake and try to work on it.

"The gaffer has really helped me to deal with these things. I always try to play like a midfielder, to do too much. But he has made me improve on my game and realise that I need to do the simple things, to defend first.

"Those days are past now. It is a new beginning. Everything that happened is done. I just focus on what I'm doing now. I try to keep my head cool and concentrate on doing the simple things."

Dundee United have agreed a deal to take Celtic striker Anthony Stokes on loan for the remainder of the season.

The Republic of Ireland international, linked with similar moves to Inverness and Hibs, is out of favour at Celtic Park.

Belfast Telegraph