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CELTIC KID’S HAMPDEN TARGET

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THE quest for 10 successive titles has gone, but Celtic new Bhoy Stephen Welsh has set his sights on history-making five Scottish Cups in a row.

The Hoops already hold the record for their four consecutive victories in the national competition and have been drawn against Arbroath or Falkirk in the first hurdle in their bid to reach Hampden for the silverware showdown on May 22.

Welsh was introduced to the first team for his debut against Hamilton Accies in February last year where Neil Lennon’s side came back from a goal down to triumph 4-1.

The 21-year-old defender played right-back that afternoon, but has switched to a central berth this time around with the Hoops searching for a combination in the middle of the rearguard following the long-term injury to Christopher Jullien and the form collapse of £2million loan signing Shane Duffy who will be returning to Brighton in the summer.

Welsh has teamed up alongside Kristoffer Ajer in recent games and the duo are likely to go into action again when Steven Gerrard’s Ibrox outfit play in the east end of Glasgow on Sunday in the scheduled midday kick-off.

The youngster expressed his dismay at the club’s inexplicable failure in the Premiership where 28 points have been squandered and said: “It’s more about playing for pride in the league and we need to win every one of our remaining games and put a statement down.

“The Scottish Cup is a trophy we need to go and win.

“We’ve had a great run with four in a row and, hopefully, we can do it again.

“It will be massive to end a difficult season on a high.”

Welsh, speaking to the Celtic View Podcast, added: “I’ve been getting games consistently since the turn of the year, so that’s been pleasing for me personally.

“It’s been good to make the breakthrough as so few manage to do it.

“It’a a massive achievement to make your debut, but you can’t just play one game to be a Celtic player. I’ve played a few games and want to kick on.

“It’s a great privilege as most Celtic fans would give everything to play for this club.

“The bottom line is you need to be professional and take the emotion out of being a fan.

“You need to go out and do your job but it makes it more special you are doing it for your club.

“But it has been a disappointing season. We all know that and all take responsibility. The results have not been good enough, especially with the high standards we set as a club.”

The holders are due to face either Falkirk or Arbroath at Parkhead on the weekend of April 3/4 with the tie scheduled for live coverage on Premier Sports.

 

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