Gary Mackay-Steven and Stuart Armstrong are back at Tannadice today for the first time since their January move to the Champions which saw Dundee United form go into free fall and gave Celtic an immediate boost. Both players were cup-tied so had to sit out the cup battles which saw Celtic knock United out of the Scottish Cup after a replay and defeat the Tangerines in the League Cup Final in March.
Both players were back in Dundee earlier this week with Mackay-Steven scoring the opener in Celtic’s 2-1 victory across the road from his old stamping ground. That goal at Dens Park may well have cheered up a few of the Arabs but Mackay-Steven reckons they’ll be gunning for him and his teammate Stuart Armstrong this afternoon.
Speaking exclusively to Celtic TV, he said: “I have made a few people happier on one side of the city after that but I don’t think I will get a great reception, to be honest. But it will all be good banter.
“I have had good memories up there and had great support from the fans there, so I’m looking forward to it.
“It will be a difficult game. They haven’t played as well as they can over the last few weeks but it’s always a tough game at Tannadice as I know from previous games against Celtic, and I’m sure it will be no different on Sunday.
“Obviously I played against them earlier on at Celtic Park and it was a little bit strange but I have had that experience now and it’s a fixture I’m looking forward to.”
Mackay-Steven had to watch from the stand and endure the agony with the Celtic support last weekend as the “Honest Mistake” – predicted in advance on this site – resulted in Inverness and not Celtic reaching the Scottish Cup Final. The same referee was at the centre of another ‘Honest Mistake’ back in December when ironically enough a Stuart Armstrong goal proved to be the winner for Dundee United as a perfectly legitimate Celtic equaliser was incorrectly ruled offside. That referee has had the whistle for THREE Celtic defeats this season – a remarkable statistic.
Reflecting on the events at Hampden last week, Mackay-Steven said: “After the weekend, we were all looking forward to getting that out our system. We were all gutted about that match and it was good to get a game so soon afterwards as we all wanted to put it right, turn in a good performance in and keep on track for the title.
“It was a massive win for us and we will look ahead this game and hopefully get another three points. We have a little bit of breathing space at the top of the table and we will be looking to get another win and further cement first place. There are not too many games left and every match is massive now.”