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Sunday 17 December 2017

Mowbray stays cool

Celtic boss feeling no pressure ahead of crunch Cup tie

Tony Mowbray has claimed that he is unconcerned ahead of Celtic's vital Scottish Cup trip to Kilmarnock tomorrow.

Defeat to the SPL strugglers would virtually end Celtic's season and intensify the criticism of Mowbray.

Despite a season scattered with disappointments the ex-West Brom boss attempted to put a bold front on as he discussed the trip to Ayrshire.

A 1-0 defeat to Kilmarnock on Robbie Keane's debut last month dealt a serious blow to Celtic's SPL hopes, with a similar outcome tomorrow certain to lead to cries for change.

"Do I worry, why should I worry?" Mowbray said. "Pressure on football managers has always been there and the bigger the club, the greater the pressure.

"I have my own concerns and worries in life. In football, I'm here to do a job and build a team. It doesn't impact on my life. So do I worry? No.

"I am comfortable with my situation. I like to think I'm pretty comfortable with the hysteria that the Scottish football media, especially in the west of Scotland, like to build.

"Everyone else seems concerned about it but I get on with the job."

Mowbray has become increasingly detached over the past few months, growing weary of criticism which he seems to believe is media driven.

Former Celt Lubo Moravcik, part of the Celtic side that infamously lost 3-1 at home to Inverness Caledonian Thistle and ended John Barnes' reign as manager, last week claimed that 'the Scottish Cup can save his head or it can cut it off'.

However, Mowbray dismissed those comments: "That was nice of him. I have no comment on that. I do not know Lubo. He was a great player but I have no opinions on where he stands.

"Doesn't every manager try to build a team? You tell me a manager in history who has gone into a football club and not changed things around.

"I'm fine with the changes I've made. I know where I'm going with the team. If we turned the clock back, hopefully we'd lose fewer key players and maybe we'd have a bit more good fortune.

"But I'm comfortable with things. I am building a team that can give this club long-term success."

Kilmarnock may be without manager Jimmy Calderwood for tomorrow's match after he flew to Holland, where he spent 20 years as a player and manager, to deal with a family matter.

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