Motherwell boss addresses Celtic 'noise' as he outlines injury latest and cautious optimism

Celtic travel to take on Motherwell on Sunday as they look to bounce back to winning ways in the Premiership

Stuart Kettlewell has seen enough from his Motherwell side to suggest they can take more points off Celtic this weekend. Motherwell may be struggling for traction in the bottom half of the Premiership table, but they have pushed Celtic close on two occasions already this season.

The Well claimed a hard fought point the last time the two sides went head to head as they drew 1-1 with the Bhoys back in November and just a couple of months prior, the champions required a 97th minute winner to break Motherwell's hearts. Of course, Celtic have fallen off the Premiership summit since the two clubs last met with Brenden Rodgers' side being held by Aberdeen and Kilmarnock in recent weeks.

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Kettlewell is paying no attention to what has been said about Celtic since their slide into second and points to the fact that the Glasgow outfit remain unbeaten over the last eight league games. But, the 39-year-old is approaching this Sunday's meeting at Fir Park with cautious optimism, it seems.

"I don't buy in too much to a lot of the noise being made at this minute in time," he told Sky. "As we stand just now, Celtic have been incredibly successful, the run that they're on still shows that they're winning games of football. Yes, there has been a few points dropped. The biggest story is the league positions have changed between Rangers and Celtic but that's not our cause, that's not our fight.

"What we've had in my time is three really close games with Celtic: two draws at Celtic Park and a last minute winner here for Matt O'Riley in a 2-1 victory for Celtic, which stuck in our throat. But what I feel we've had is a formula to be competitive.

"That doesn't give us a god-given right to go into this game on Sunday and think that we're favourites. We're massive underdogs but we definitely go in with a belief and an understanding of what we need to do to be competitive in this fixture and we probably need to try and have a growing belief in what we do in the forward area of the pitch.

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"There'll be periods when we don't have the ball and we'll be under pressure, we understand that. But I do also feel we carry a real threat in our side and the very nature of scoring three goals in three games against Celtic shows that we can carry a threat in that aspect as well."

On the injury front, Kettlewell was keeping his cards close to his chest, but he failed to rule out the likes of Calum Butcher, Blair Spittal and Andy Halliday, who missed the loss at Hearts last time out.

"Still betwixt and between on a few," he said when asked about his team news. "We're going to try and give two or three players until the last minute, even one or two players that featured for us against Hearts, there's one or two doubts.

"Missing Calum Butcher, Blair Spittal, Andy Halliday last week as we did is always a huge loss and if we can get two or three back this weekend it would help us. We'll give one or two every minute we can to try and prove their fitness."

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