Celtic edge closer to Scottish Premiership title

Jason Denayer

Celtic could take another step closer to claiming their fourth successive Scottish Premiership title when they take on struggling Kilmarnock on Wednesday night.

The Hoops, who drew 1-1 with Inverness Caledonian Thistle on Saturday, have a five point lead at the top of the table over nearest challengers Aberdeen with just seven matches remaining.

The Glasgow giants could stretch that to eight if they can claim victory at Celtic Park against a Kilmarnock side that are just seven points above the relegation play-off spot.

Celtic’s recent form in the league has been impressive with the Hoops dropping just five points since the turn of the year.

A major part of that has been their formidable defensive record which has seen Celtic concede just 15 goals all season and only three in their past 14 matches.

On-loan Manchester City star Jason Denayer, who recently collected his first cap for Belgium, has stood out at the heart of the Celtic defence this season.

And the central defender knows that patience will be required to pick up victory against a Kilmarnock side that ran second-placed Aberdeen close at the weekend.

“It’s going to be like most other teams we play in Scotland. Kilmarnock will sit back, frustrate us and hit on the counter-attack -– it won’t be so different,” Denayer said.

“The majority of teams play like that and sometimes it can be difficult as they have everyone back in defence, but we have to deal with it.

“It will be good to go back and play at Celtic Park in front of our great fans, and it’s been amazing playing in front of them this season.”

With Sunday’s Scottish Cup semi-final against Inverness Caledonian Thistle to consider, Celtic manager Ronny Deila could make several changes to his side for the visit of Kilmarnock. The Norwegian manager knows that defeat could allow Aberdeen to close to within two points at the top when they take on Dundee United on Saturday.

Killie have suffered three straight defeats following an unbeaten run of six games after Gary Locke’s appointment as manager of the Rugby Park side.

Manuel Pascali could be in line to return for Killie after missing the last two matches through suspension and injury to take his place in the heart of the midfield.

Fixtures (1945 unless otherwise stated)

Wednesday

Celtic v Kilmarnock

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