John Kennedy insists delaying Rangers’ imminent Scottish Premiership title win is not the focus for Celtic at Dundee United on Sunday.
Steven Gerrard’s side are 18 points clear of the Hoops at the top of the table and only four points away from their first championship win in 10 years as they prepare to face St Mirren on Saturday.
In the event of a home win at Ibrox, a Celtic slip-up at Tannadice would confirm the title for the Govan club.
When Kennedy, who began his tenure as Parkhead interim boss with a 1-0 home win over Aberdeen last week, was asked if delaying Rangers their glory could be an added incentive to the players, he said: “It might be, but again we can’t worry about what might be going on elsewhere or how it might affect anybody else.
“We have to think about ourselves all the time and that’s where we are at.
“Ultimately, Rangers are sitting in a very strong position and if we were sitting in that position we would be feeling confident.
“So we have to think about ourselves, face up to the season. This is the way it has been but what do we do to get moving forward and that’s improve on performances and be more consistent.
“There was lots in the Aberdeen game I really liked, especially in the first half when we were slick in our play and created good opportunities, and I think if we get a second goal it is a totally different game.
“We have tried to instil more belief and confidence in ourselves as the week has gone on and we just want to show that in our performances and park what might or might not be elsewhere.
“Obviously it might be in the back of some people’s heads who have been here a long time, and if that is extra motivation then great, use it for that. But ultimately it won’t be a motivating factor.”
The former Celtic defender has no doubts about the motivational aspect of the Scottish Cup which is set to resume this month, after being put in cold storage in January due to Covid issues in Scotland.
The Hoops won the delayed and dramatic 2020 cup final against Hearts on penalties in December to complete the quadruple domestic treble, and their temporary boss is pleased to have the chance to finish the season on a high.
“It is a trophy we have had great success in in recent seasons and we are current holders,” said Kennedy, who revealed James Forrest has returned to training again following a setback after ankle surgery.
“It is great we get the opportunity, it gives us something else to attack in the season and look forward to. And going into a Scottish Cup final at the end of the season is always a great feeling and a great motivation.
“Again if there is some sort of motivation for the season now it is very much our performances and results, but when there is silverware there to be played for that makes it all the better.”
Celtic have also confirmed that teenager Cameron Harper has left the club.
The American winger has returned stateside after securing a deal with MLS side New York Red Bulls.
The 19-year-old made one start for the Hoops this season.