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Thursday 14 December 2017

break to bhoy us: mowbray

Celtic manager Tony Mowbray hopes some time away from the pressure of the club will prove a tonic for his players ahead of an intense period.

Celtic host St Johnstone tomorrow before playing St Mirren and Kilmarnock in the following seven days as they bid to keep alive their faint Scottish Premier League hopes.

The players returned to training yesterday after some time off and Mowbray is looking for his squad to repay him.

"I have to make sure that everything is done properly and is disciplined," Mowbray said.

"We have to make sure that the players are aware that we have their welfare at heart and are trying to make sure that they are in the best frame of mind for football matches, as well as physically ready to play.

"There is always a balance there. You can't train them every single day and run them into the ground.

"They have to be happy and content with the preparation for football matches and sometimes, off the back of an intense run of fixtures and important games, it's not bad to relieve the pressure on them and get them away from the training ground for a few days."

Mowbray is expecting a tricky test against St Johnstone, who are only three points off sixth-placed Hearts, with two games in hand, following back-to-back victories against Falkirk and Aberdeen.

The former West Brom and Hibs manager said: "They have different types of player and can play in different ways. Any team that is coming up from the division below us is going to need time to adjust and get used to the environment, and St Johnstone seem to have found their feet.

"They've had some very good results over the past few weeks and will come to Celtic Park with confidence."

Meanwhile, Rangers legend Willie Henderson claimed Kris Boyd would be even more prolific if wingers were still part of the game.

Henderson played at Ibrox in the 1960s and 70s under Scott Symon and then Willie Waddell when Scottish football was renowned for wide men.

But when Walter Smith's side run out at Hampden on Sunday for the Co-operative Insurance Cup final against St Mirren, Ibrox striker Boyd will look to add to his 24 goals without the aid of wingers.

"The game has changed but I think wingers are missed," the former Scotland player said.

"Kris Boyd has scored 24 goals this season and you know what his record is like over past seasons.

"Can you imagine how many he'd have scored playing with two wingers?"

Rangers are odds-on to win the trophy, which would represent the first part of a possible domestic treble, but Henderson was reluctant to make comparisons with his Rangers team of 1964 which achieved the feat.

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