MOUSSA DEMBELE is adamant his focus is sharp as he prepares to lead the Celtic attack in the second leg of their Europa League last-32 tie against Zenit St Petersburg in Russia tomorrow night.
The French Under-21 striker was instrumental in setting up the only goal of last week’s dramatic encounter at Parkhead when he knocked the ball inside for Charly Musonda to sweep an immaculate cross to Callum McGregor who finished the flowing move with a breathtaking volley.
Dembele endured a difficult January as speculation abounded about his future during the transfer window.
At one stage, Brendan Rodgers admitted the frontman’s form may have suffered by the persistent reports of a big-money move.
But Dembele insisted: “It might have looked to other people outside that I was affected by speculation, but that was never the case. It is not something that is new to me.
“I have been in this position many times in many career. For me, it is always about playing football and scoring goals.
“Nothing else matters to me. That is what my focus is. It is what it is now and it is what it will be until the end of the season.
“It has been difficult with the injuries, but every player has injuries. It is just a part of football.
“However, I feel good. I feel fit. I feel positive. I am always positive and I just want to go out and play.”
Dembele will be key to how Celtic set up against the Russians tomorrow evening.
He added: “They are a very good side. I don’t know if they were tired or not fit because they hadn’t played a competitive game. That is nothing to do with us.
“I don’t know if they will play differently, but I do know that we will have the same spirit in Russia that we did at Celtic Park.
“It is a big game for us. We have got a really good result, but we all know that it is only half-time.
“We have to be as clever as we were in the first leg. We worked together as a team and showed a lot of unity and that is what we have to do again.”