CARL STARFELT insists Celtic are determined to make up for the pain in Paisley when they carelessly threw away three points in their only Premiership reverse of the campaign.
The champions wore a new-look change outfit of inspid grey shirts which mirrored their colourless performance in the incomprehensible 2-0 loss to St Mirren on September 18.
Ange Postecoglou utilised 16 players – 11 of them signed by the Greek-Australian gaffer – as he tried to steer his team back on course, but it was an afternoon to forget for the Parkhead side
THE RACE IS ON…Carl Starfelt and Kilmarnock striker Kyle Vassell in a tussle for the ball at Hampden.
Starfelt and his central rearguard sidekick Cameron Carter-Vickers both missed the game through injury with Stephen Welsh and Moritz Jenz standing in. Stephen Robinson’s team made the most of the non-appearance of the first-choice pairing.
Now, though, the Swedish defender and the USA World Cup performer will get their chance to play pivotal roles when the Saints visit the east end of Glasgow tomorrow night. The Hoops go into the encounter with a nine-point advantage and Starfelt is adamant there will be no slip-ups on this occasion.
The £4.2million arrival from Rubin Kazan in July 2021 will put next month’s Viaplay League Cup Final on the backburner as he said: “We have to forget that and concentrate on the league matches.
“The next game is the most important one and that is the way you have to look at it if you want to fight in all competitions. Every game is important, so the full focus is on St Mirren now.
“We will try to win that game because there is plenty to play for in the league. St Mirren were the last team to beat us in the league, so we want a little bit of revenge.
“We want to win every game, that’s how it is, but maybe a little bit more this one because of what happened last time. We were very disappointed after that game.”
SHOVE OFF…Stephen Welsh is sent flying after a push in the back by Jonah Ayunga as he scores St Mirren’s second goal in the September setback.
Starfelt may be loathe to admit it, but he proved to be the difference between Celtic and their Ibrox rivals the last time they clashed at Hampden in the Scottish Cup semi-final in April last year.
It was the unfortunate Swede who inadvertently diverted the extra-time winner beyond team-mate Joe Hart to settle the tie.
However, he believes Celtic are a different proposition now.
Starfelt, speaking to the The Herald, added: “Do I feel we are a better team now compared to the last time we played at Hampden? Yes, I feel we have evolved, for sure.
“We have been playing alongside each other for a longer time, we all know each other better and know what the manager wants.
“The group is stronger, we know exactly how we want to play and that has been developing constantly. We also have a lot to improve on, as well.
“You always have to keep looking to get better.”