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  • Chris Davies: Hoops can handle pressure

    Chris Davies: Hoops can handle pressure

    By: Mark Henderson on 18 May, 2017 10:59

  • CELTIC assistant manager Chris Davies insists the Bhoys are calm and focused as they attempt to make history in the closing weeks of the campaign.

    By the end of the month, the Hoops could have clinched the club’s first treble in 16 years and gone the entire domestic season unbeaten, a truly astonishing level of consistency.   

    But the champions still have plenty of work left to complete such a fantastic feat. Tonight (Thursday), Brendan Rodgers’ side will take on Partick Thistle in their penultimate league fixture of the season at Firhill, and three days later they will entertain Hearts on the day they get presented with the Scottish Premiership trophy for the sixth successive year.

    Should Celtic negotiate those obstacles unbeaten, they still have to face runners-up Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup final next weekend.

    And while Davies accepts there will be pressure on the squad in these circumstances, he is confident in their ability to handle the situation.

    “The atmosphere is one that is relaxed but focused,” he said. “People are calm and enjoying their football but everyone is aware, and the manager has spoken to the players a lot and he has identified it in the press about managing and dealing with pressure.

    “From the very start of the season, there was an immense amount of pressure on us, and the players had to deal and perform with that. There are some great moments we can go back to, and that’s what you do in your mind, you back in your mind and think how you dealt with that and came through that test.

    “We are coming to the real business end of the season now, so there is an awareness of what’s coming and what we have to do but at the same time, we don’t sit and worry about it. We just prepare.

    “This is our 57th competitive game we are going into, and our whole model and process of work is to prepare a plan for the match, get the players as fit and conditioned and ready to perform as possible, and then go and work as hard as we can and show as much quality as we can in the match.

    "That’s all we focus on in terms of Partick Thistle, then it will be Hearts and Aberdeen. That process has served us well and we won’t be changing that. We know what is possible but you have to stay in the current moment to be successful.”

    Moussa Dembele is making progress following his hamstring injury but he remains a doubt for the Hampden showpiece with Aberdeen on May 27.

    “He’s in light training and hopefully next week he can take some part in full training," said Davies. "It’s a progressive rehab he is going through. He is starting light training on the grass and next week will make things a bit clearer. From my understanding, it will be too early to say. He is a very conscientious guy and he will give himself every chance of being available in some capacity for the final.”

    Aside from the French striker, Davies revealed there were no major concerns ahead of the Glasgow derby against the Jags.

    “We have a few bumps and bruises from the Aberdeen game which we are monitoring but nothing major,” he added. “It’s just something we will have to look at.”

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