Celtic must concentrate on league not Juventus, says captain Scott Brown
Published 21/12/2012 | 14:20
Celtic captain Scott Brown knows they must focus on their league campaign and put thoughts of Juventus to one side to ensure they resume their Champions League campaign in peak form and condition.
Celtic have plenty to distract them from yesterday's draw for the last 16 with Ross County visiting Parkhead tomorrow and Clydesdale Bank Premier League games against Dundee, Hibernian and Motherwell following in the subsequent 11 days.
The Italian champions visit Parkhead for the first leg on February 12 and Brown will try to put that game out of his mind following the initial excitement of the draw.
The 27-year-old said: "We have six or seven weeks so we need to focus on that and not really worry too much about this Champions League. We will wait for that to happen when it comes around.
"There are always injuries and places up for grabs as well. No-one is guaranteed a game. Every day in training the lads look forward to it.
"That's the main thing, giving 100% at training so we go into games looking sharper and fitter."
The SPL shuts down for two weekends after the festive schedule and Brown is one of the players most in need of a winter break having played through a degenerative hip condition for several months, although the pain has eased in recent weeks.
"We have a lot of games coming up, four games in the next week and a half," he said. "It's going to be hard and going to be hectic.
"But after that we can sit down and chill out for a week and recharge our batteries."
Celtic secured their Champions League qualification with home wins over Barcelona and Spartak Moscow but they had gone two months without taking three SPL points at Parkhead before last weekend's 2-0 victory over St Mirren.
And Brown and manager Neil Lennon are determined to build on that triumph.
"Our away form has been second to none, we have done really well," Brown said. "Our home form has been disappointing, we have been conceding a lot of late goals and conceding a lot of goals compared to what we did last season when we went on a 17-match winning run and played brilliant. "We just need to try to get back in the form we were on at the end of last season."
Lennon added: "I thought we played well, probably as well as we have played for a while at home. We are in a good vein of form, the boys are training well.
"Ross County are having a terrific season. They have got goals in them, they have no fear of playing anybody.
"Derek (Adams) has instilled a great ethos at the club with George (Adams).
"But it's a game I want to win and try to widen the gap at the top. We are four wins on the bounce and I want to keep that going."