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Strachan's trophy target Stephen Sullivan


GORDON Strachan has claimed that the collective significance of winning the first trophy of his reign would eclipse any personal satisfaction he would glean from the achievement.

Much has been made of the importance to Strachan of putting some silverware on the table in this, his debut season, but the Celtic boss – while acknowledging the value in establishing a winning habit – believes beating Dunfermline would be just as momentous for his players.

“It’s more what it would mean for the group,” he said. “It’s a new group of players we have and some of them have won trophies before, but some of them haven’t.

“There’s a new manager, new coaches, so it would be nice for the older players to win something as part of this new group and for the younger guys to win their first trophy. And it would be great me as manager as well. It’s important, but we can’t spook the boys.

“We’re looking forward to it. We’ve beaten three SPL teams to get here, albeit with varying standards of performance, but we’ve still beaten three SPL teams and, if we win the cup, we’ll have beaten four.

“So we’ve done well, we deserve to be here – and so do Dunfermline. You’ve got two teams who’ve worked hard to get to this stage and hopefully we can put on a show for the supporters.”

Strachan may be hoping for a performance of which the late, great Jimmy Johnstone would be proud, but he’s also warned that there will be no repeat of the goal glut that saw Celtic put eight past Dunfermline when the sides last met.

“What happened that day was that everything we hit went in the back of the net,” he said. “And fans are not daft. They know that’s not going to happen again, and so do the players.”