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Mowbray facing selection poser ahead of opener

Tony Mowbray faces a striker dilemma going into his first Premier League match in charge of Celtic, according to Scott McDonald.

Mowbray appeared settled on Marc-Antoine Fortune as his preferred partner for McDonald until last week, when Georgios Samaras and Chris Killen staked their claims to start alongside the Australian.

First Samaras came off the bench and made himself Celtic's hero in their historic Champions League win at Dinamo Moscow and then Killen netted an equaliser in Saturday's 2-1 friendly defeat at Manchester City.

That has cranked up the pressure on summer signing Fortune, who has yet to net for his new club.

McDonald backed the Frenchman to break his duck soon but knows he may now not get the chance in Saturday's trip to Aberdeen.

"Marc is a very good lad and he is working hard for the team,'' said McDonald, who has finished top scorer at Celtic in both of his seasons at the club. "It would be nice for him to get his first goal in the first SPL game of the season. I'm sure it will come.

"He is working hard and is always wanting to improve and help his team-mates out. We see that and we are quite happy with him at the moment.

"It's the same with everyone else. Chris Killen has been in superb form pre-season and Samaras has been fantastic as well, so it gives the manager a few headaches come Saturday who to pick up front.''

One forward who will not be challenging for a first-team spot is 20-year-old Cillian Sheridan, who joined Plymouth on loan.

Mowbray has a completely different dilemma defensively, with first-choice defensive pairing Stephen McManus and Gary Caldwell unavailable through injury and suspension, respectively.

"We might see another makeshift (defence) again, as we saw last Saturday when Massimo (Donati) did a fantastic job,'' said McDonald.

New Aberdeen captain Mark Kerr is desperate to avoid a repeat of his first competitive match as skipper when Celtic visit Pittodrie.

Midfielder Kerr was handed the armband on a permanent basis by Mark McGhee, who had trialled a number of players in the role during pre-season.

Kerr was captain during the 5-1 Europa League first leg loss against Sigma Olomouc two weeks ago, Aberdeen's worst ever home defeat in Europe.

"Those kind of results, no matter the situation, aren't nice,'' said Kerr, who also played in last week's 3-0 second-leg defeat and Sunday's friendly win at Hull.

"The boys picked themselves up - after those two games - against Hull. We've stepped it up in training this week going into the Celtic game, so we'll look forward to it.''

Kerr spelt out his personal goals after being appointed captain, saying: "I'd like to be successful and be up the high end of the table.''


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