Thursday, February 19, 2009
Flood taking nothing for granted
Irishman Willo Flood insists he will not not take a place in the Celtic team for granted, despite being handed his debut in the Old Firm derby.
Flood started Sunday's goalless Clydesdale Bank Premier League draw at Parkhead only two weeks after joining his boyhood idols.
The 23-year-old Dublin born midfielder - who spent 18 months on loan at Dundee United before parent club Cardiff agreed to sell him to Celtic - knows the quality of the squad the Scottish champions possess means he can never rest on his laurels.
He said: "The standard of players in the squad is what I expected.
"I've played against Celtic often enough to know how good guys like Scott Brown, Paul Hartley and Barry Robson are. It's competitive in training but that's because we all want to play.
"All the players have a winning streak in them. There is a lot of talent in this squad, but that's what life at a big club is like. We are all fighting for places in the team.
"I just want to work hard in training and hopefully catch the manager's eye. I want to get a few more games before the end of the season and hopefully help bring the title back to Celtic Park."
Sunday's result left leaders Celtic two points clear of arch-rivals Rangers and Flood knows there is all to play for in the SPL run-in.
"This is a crucial stage of the season, but I think we all know that it's time to stand up, be counted and take it home from here," he said. "There are 13 games to go and we need to push on.
"We have the quality in the squad to do that and I think the spirit is there as well.
"There's a good camaraderie between the boys and we are all chasing the same goal.
"Fingers crossed, we can have a successful end to the season."
Celtic will find themselves playing catch-up for the first time since November if Rangers beat Kilmarnock on Saturday.
The champions travel to Motherwell 24 hours later and Flood believes Mark McGhee's in-form side are capable of derailing the Hoops' title bid.
"I'm preparing for a really hard game on Sunday," Flood said.
"I rate Motherwell highly as a team and I wouldn't be surprised if they made a late charge for third place.
"They will definitely be up there challenging come the end of the season because they have a great squad and a good manager. They are hitting form at exactly the right time."
Much has been made of the appalling state of Motherwell's Fir Park pitch and Celtic have hinted it may influence team selection this weekend.
Flood told Celtic View: "I just hope the Fir Park pitch is better than it's been over the past year.
"At times last season, it was like playing on St Andrew's beach but hopefully that won't be the case on Sunday."