No special plans for Celtic says Alloa veteran ahead of Scottish Cup clash

By Euan Davidson

January 22, 2022

Alloa captain Andy Graham has disclosed the special plans for facing Celtic in the Scottish Cup later today.

There aren’t any.

Barry Ferguson’s side sit 8th in SPFL League One at the time of writing. The Wasps are just one point from the bottom two. However, Graham, a veteran SPFL campaigner, says there’s nothing specific the team have worked on in the build-up to Celtic’s trip to Indodrill.

Alloa Athletic will host Celtic at their traditional stadium, having flatly rejected calls to move to a higher-capacity venue. And in the spirit of keeping things as they are, Graham has divulged how preparation has been for Ange Postecoglou’s side coming to Clackmannanshire.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Graham said [Herald]: “The manager is just treating it like another game and I would not expect anything else.

“He has just treated them as an opponent and training has been feisty as everyone wants to force their way into the starting 11, myself included. The last time we played Celtic it was my first season so that was six years ago and I thought then, this might be the last chance.

“You know what it’s like, it’s the luck of the draw at times, you have to be in the draw in the first place and to actually get the opportunity does not come around as often as you think – when you’re maybe 22, 23 and you think it’ll happen a lot.

“It definitely doesn’t and this will be my advice to my team-mates, ‘enjoy it boys, you don’t know what path your career is going to take and you maybe take things for granted’.”

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Alloa keeping it normal ahead of Celtic Scottish Cup clash

To be fair to Andy Graham, it’s not as if he was going to give a detailed list of the training exercises Alloa have done ahead of the Celtic game.

However, it very much sounds as if they’re doing the “one game at a time” approach. “Playing the team not the occasion” type stuff. For a side two tiers below us, and in a perilous league position, that’s interesting. And you have to wonder how their fans will feel about it.

Ange Postecoglou has insisted he’s not taking anything for granted. He knows the sting of a shock Cup exit, having been through it with Yokohama F Marinos. His YFM side were knocked out the cup by Honda FC, a team in Japan’s fourth tier. That memory has stayed with the Celtic manager.

Photo by Colin McPherson/Corbis via Getty Images

It’ll be something a little out of the ordinary for Celtic players, staff and supporters today. Any talk of the “romance of the Cup” has to be quelled early, and preferably often.

In terms of the first-team, there’s certain to be change from Monday night’s win over Hibernian. Ange Postecoglou has stressed the importance of giving fringe players minutes. With the likes of Jota, Giakoumakis and Bitton returning from injury, it’s likely to still be a strong team, albeit one that needs match fitness.

It should be a fascinating encounter. But Alloa aren’t treating it any differently to their normal games.

It’s an interesting approach for Alloa ahead of Celtic heading to the Indodrill.

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