SCOTT BROWN is focused on hitting the ground running when Celtic resume their season against Partick Thistle in the Scottish Cup at Firhill on Saturday evening.
The Hoops captain and his team-mates have been back at Lennoxtown this week, following seven days at the club’s mid-winter training camp in Dubai.
Brown admitted he was raring to go and told this week’s Celtic View: “We knew what we had to do and what we wanted to work on over there – and we did that.
“The manager and the backroom staff worked us hard, but it was enjoyable, as well. Training in the heat is difficult, that’s the point of our regime over there, but at the same time you can’t complain.
“With the time off – both immediately after December’s games and after training over there – we’ll use that to recharge the batteries and get ourselves ready to go again.”
The 34-year-old midfielder emphasised the importance of the next few months for the eight-in-a-row champions.
Brown added: “We’ve got a big second half of our season to focus on now, but it was good to get over there, to have more time on the training pitch, to work on new training methods, our positioning, shape, pressing and other tactical elements. By the time Partick Thistle comes this weekend, we’ll be fully-recovered and ready to go again.”
Neil Lennon will, of course, be without the midfield skills of Scotland international Ryan Christie following his controversial three-game ban after his incident with Alfredo Morelos just before the turn of the year.
The playmaker will also sit out the Premiership match against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park a week tonight and the visit of Ross County the following Saturday.
HARRY BUNN, who started his career at Manchester City, has agreed a deal with Kilmarnock until the end of the season, subject to international clearance.
The 27-year-old forward is Alex Dyer’s first addition to his squad since he was apppointed boss in December.
Bunn with Huddersfield for three seasons, where he worked alongside Dyer, before transferring to Bury and also spent loan periods at Rochdale, Preston, Oldham, Crewe, Sheffield United and Southend.
The player, speaking to Sky Sports News, said: “I’m delighted to join Kilmarnock and I’m really excited for my taste of Scottish football and all the challenges ahead.
“I’ve worked with the gaffer before and training with the guys has been really enjoyable over the past week. This is a great opportunity for me and I can’t wait to get out on the pitch and show the fans what I can do.”
Dyer added: “Harry is a very good player, who can create and score goals and I know he will give everything he has for the team. He’s a wonderful human being and will fit into our style of play here at Kilmarnock.”
CHRIS CADDEN insists he is not to blame for the compensation wrangle between his former club Motherwell and Columbus Crew.
The Fir Park outfit are demanding around £200,000 for the 23-year-old Scotland international winger, who joined the Major League Soccer outfit last summer before being immediately loaned out to Oxford United for the first half of this season.
Cadden’s stint in England has now expired an he is on his way to Ohio with the cash spat is still be played out with FIFA poised to be called in.
The Fir Park academy graduate admitted the situation is “not ideal” following the successful 13 years he spent in Lanarkshire, but he reckons attempting to apportion blame is unhelpful.
Cadden, speaking to The Herald, said: “I know Motherwell haven’t been happy, but I can only thank them for the support they have given me. It’s nobody’s fault. It’s not ideal or the way I wanted it to happen, but there’s nothing I can do about it.
“It was an opportunity I wanted to take and someone told me about the loophole – if you want to call it that – and Columbus said: ‘Right, okay’.
“I’m not going to turn that down, it’s not my fault.
“Leaving Motherwell] was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I just felt I needed a different challenge.”
STEVIE MALLAN will be out of action for around two months after undergoing knee surgery.
The midfielder has been sidelined since the Boxing Day win in the Edinburgh derby and stayed at home to receive treatment at the Hibs Training Centre rather than travel to Spain with his team-mates for the winter break training camp.
Having gone under the knife yesterday, Stevie will return to the centre to start a rehabilitation programme that will ease him back to full fitness.
Mallan, speaking on the club website, said: “It’s an important part of the season with some exciting games coming up, so I’m disappointed to be ruled out for a few weeks.
“The surgeon was pleased with how everything went.
“I’ve been given two months as a rough guide, but I’ll throw myself into the programme that’s been drawn up for me and see where it takes me.”