STUART ARMSTRONG insists Celtic must lift themselves for their trio of tests against his old club Dundee United.
The midfielder sampled his first Hoops’ league defeat as St Johnstone won 1-0 and halted a run of 10 successive domestic games without loss.
Armstrong admitted: “The Dundee United matches are big games for the boys. Unfortunately, Gary Mackay-Steven and I won’t be involved in the Scottish Cup-tie on Sunday or the League Cup Final a week later because we are Cup-tied.
“We’ll be looking on from afar, but we can play in the league game on March 21, so we’ll be looking to rest up meantime.
“All the boys know what United are about, having played against them so many times and having watched some videos of past performances, so they know what they’re up against.
“They are massive Cup games and everyone wants to play. Obviously, I would like to be there, too, but I can’t.”
The defeat from the Perth side was Ronny Deila’s team’s third match in six days and the hectic schedule didn’t do the SPFL champions any favours as they failed to stretch their lead at the top of the table to nine points over Aberdeen.
But Armstrong admitted the players must adapt to the pressures placed on them.
The 22-year-old said: “Every game is a big game here. You realise that every match is a must-win and winning is a part of life here.
“So, being able to get your head around the demands of winning every week and the performances that go along with that is good and, hopefully, I can get accustomed to that.”
On the upset from the Saints, Armstrong added: “It’s a disappointing one after a few good performances, especially the one against Aberdeen which was so important for us.
“We wanted to widen the gap so we’re disappointed that we didn’t do that.
“Credit to St Johnstone because they played well, defended well and they were hard to break down.
“A lot of our possession was in front of them and we couldn’t seem to find that killer pass.
“We take nothing for granted and there’s still a lot of time left in the season. There are still a lot of games to be won, so taking each game as it comes and not getting ahead of yourself is very important.”