Strachan focusing solely on Hoops title decider

May 21, 2008

Gordon Strachan will tell his Celtic players to ignore the scoreline from Pittodrie during tomorrow's title decider - because he once escaped relegation with the help of false information.

Celtic will almost certainly win the Clydesdale Bank Premier League if they beat Dundee United as they have a four-goal advantage over Rangers.

But Rangers, who are level on points, have plenty of hope remaining as they prepare to face Aberdeen.

And Strachan would prefer to avoid that game impinging on the Tannadice encounter after a costly error by Manchester City player Steve Lomas helped him avoid the drop in 1996.

City needed to better the result of Strachan's Coventry side and were level with Liverpool at Maine Road.

But Lomas was given the wrong scoreline from Highfield Road, where Coventry played out a goalless draw with Leeds.

``I have been there a couple of times - you stick to the game,'' Strachan said.

``There was once, Man City thought they were staying up and Steve Lomas took the ball into the corner, keeping it at 2-2 when they actually needed another goal.

``He had got the wrong information from somebody. It was handy for Coventry, because we stayed up.

``We will play the way we have played all season, and tried to play.

``There won't be any tactical magic. As a man used to say `we are Celtic, just get on and play'.

``If we win it would need an incredible performance, by both sides, at Pittodrie. We can only try and do our job.''

While Strachan will keep his instructions simple, he knows victory will not be so easy against a United side looking to secure fourth place.

``We were fortunate to win there the last time - it was hard, hard work. ,'' the Celtic manager said.

``They are hard work to play against because they are powerful, they can play and they are well managed.

``So you put that all together and I don't know if we could have gone to a worse place.''

United are expected to leave out centre-back Lee Wilkie, as he is one booking away from a suspension that would carry into next season.

But Strachan dismissed suggestions that could help his team in the title race.

He added: ``Lee Wilkie has had a terrific season but the lad (Garry) Kenneth has done terrifically well since he came in. They have all done very, very well this season.''