STEPHEN MCMANUS believes Motherwell have nothing to lose on Saturday against a Celtic side which has stepped up a level under Brendan Rodgers.
The Nothern Irishman took over from Ronny Deila at Parkhead in the summer and has added “an intensity” to the Hoops’ play as they sit top of the Ladbrokes Premiership and in the Champions League.
Former Celtic captain McManus and the rest of his Well team mates suffered from that improvement in August when they were hammered 5-0 at Parkhead in the Betfred Cup but he will return to the east end of Glasgow with hope.
The 34-year-old said: “We couldn’t get near Celtic that night.
“They were moving the ball at a tempo, they were passing it to hurt you, they were looking to penetrate and they were keeping possession to score goals.
“I think there’s a big, big difference this season and it’s clear for everyone to see.
“But we have nothing to lose. Nobody is expecting us to get anything at all.
“We can go there and play with freedom, be relaxed.
“You need to be very well organised, which hopefully we will be on Saturday.
“We’ll give it our best shot and on the day anything can happen.
“We know how difficult it’s going to be but we certainly believe we can get something out of the game.”
Having also lost 7-0 to Celtic on the last day of last season – albeit when there was little at stake – Motherwell boss Mark McGhee wants his side to become harder to beat at Parkhead.
The former Celtic striker said: “We lost seven goals on the last game of last season, we’ve lost five already this season so we’ve got a massive challenge ahead of us.
“We went there last season and won but it was a different Celtic mentality that was afoot then.
“I said it after we lost in the Betfred Cup that a lot of teams will lose a few goals there this season, and I think the average is about five, so in that sense we haven’t done too bad.
“We’ve got to go there and we’ve got to find a way of making ourselves more difficult to beat, so if we do lose then it has to be better than in the two games that I’ve mentioned.”
Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers says his Scotland stars are ready to put disappointment behind them
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