GLASGOW: Mikel Lustig says it is vital Celtic return their focus to the Scottish Premier League and put their Champions League excitement to the back of their minds.
The Swedish defender played a vital role in helping the Hoops to the top of the SPL for the first time this season when they won 2-0 away to Motherwell last weekend before playing his part in Celtic’s first ever away victory in the Champions League when they defeated Spartak Moscow 3-2 on Tuesday.
However, Lustig knows the Hoops can’t afford to rest on their laurels after dropping seven points in their first seven matches in the SPL.
The defender says he knows how important it is to get everyone at the club fully focused on their clash with Hearts as it is only by retaining their championship that the Parkhead side will have further Champions League matches to look forward to.
“We went to the top of the SPL on Saturday then won in Moscow, so it has been a very good week for us,” Lustig admitted.
“Now we have to come back down to earth for our next match, which is in the league against Hearts on Sunday.
“Good teams always play games, win, then are ready to play again.
“We celebrated on the flight back to Scotland on Tuesday night. But now we have to make sure we have our feet back on the ground.
“If we’re going to be the team we want to be, then we have to do that. We have a good squad, so we know we all have to keep playing at the top of our form to hold our place.”
One man who is helping fire the Hoops to the top is Gary Hooper. The English striker is in fine form with six goals in his past three matches, including a debut Champions League strike in his first start in the competition.
And his team-mate Kris Commons was full of praise for his fellow forward.
“Gary has great movement, he is a natural goalscorer, he leads the line well and he is so strong,” the Scotland international said.
“When he puts his mind to it he can do anything. Even if his marker is quicker than him, he just puts his body in positions and gets away from him and he has vision as well.
“Not many strikers have got great vision but he always seems to set me up for goals as well, which is good.”
The visitors to Celtic Park on Sunday are aiming to bounce back from a disappointing 3-1 defeat to Hearts last weekend.
But despite the loss Jambos manager John McGlynn is not despondent and remains confident in his side’s ability to score against the Hoops.
“We need to keep faith, keep belief and keep working hard,” McGlynn said.
“We need to continue putting balls into areas where we can score goals, then we need to put them in the back of the net. Putting the ball in the net is the key thing.
“There’s no magic wand to it. What we need to do is keep ?believing in ourselves, continue passing the ball and playing ?good football and creating ?opportunities.”
Elsewhere on Saturday, Motherwell are at home to Dundee United, Kilmarnock host Aberdeen, Hibernian take on bottom of the table Dundee and St Johnstone face St Mirren. -AFP
Fixtures (1400 GMT unless stated)
Inverness CT v Ross County (1845)
Hibernian v Dundee, Kilmarnock v Aberdeen, Motherwell v Dundee United, St Johnstone v St Mirren
Celtic v Hearts (1145)
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