Dundee V Celtic at Dens Park Stadium : Match Preview

18 March 2017
Dundee V Celtic - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Dundee's up and down form confuses James Vincent

Dundee midfielder James Vincent admits he is baffled by their inconsistency this season.

Paul Hartley won the Ladbrokes Premiership manager of the month award after an unbeaten February which included victory over Rangers and a 5-1 thrashing of Motherwell at Fir Park.

But they have lost to both Partick Thistle and St Johnstone in March and have drifted to eighth ahead of Sunday's visit of leaders Celtic.

Vincent said: "It's probably the story of our season. We are an honest enough bunch to know we have been inconsistent.

"We know we can hit the heights of February but for some reason, which I can't really hit the nail head on, we get inconsistent and drop points and find ourselves lower down the table again.

"Every time we go on a run we think we've got it, and we have all the capabilities and all the facilities for players to have that consistency. It's just getting that run and keeping those standards up.

"Sometimes they drop, it's going to happen in football, but for it to happen so many times in a season is disappointing. It's something we need to rectify."

Hartley added: "We had a good February but I think that curse of manager of the month has certainly struck again. We have had a poor March so far.

"But credit to the players for their performances in February.

"That probably sums up the season, the inconsistency in our play. We have been excellent in some of the games but we have been indifferent in other games. Probably six other managers are saying the same."

Celtic have not relied on anyone else so far this season and assistant boss Chris Davies insists they are not about to start now.

Brendan Rodgers' rampant Hoops can wrap up the title on Sunday if second-place Aberdeen lose at home to Hearts on Saturday, but Davies is not keeping his fingers crossed for a Dons slip up at Pittodrie.

He said: "It's something I'm obviously aware could happen but it's not something we've spoken about or focused on.

"For that to happen it would involve us relying on someone else. But what we've done this season is rely purely on ourselves.

"That is what we will always do so we are focusing on Dundee. They had a good February and Paul Hartley was named manager of the month and rightly so.

"We know it's going to be a really difficult game so we're just focusing on the game plan and how we can perform. We can control that. We can't control at Aberdeen.

"If it happens then great but it's not something we're worried about."

Rodgers inherited a team that had already clocked up five successive league crowns under former bosses Neil Lennon and Ronny Deila.

But he has taken the side to a new level with the introductions of Moussa Dembele and Scott Sinclair - who alone have contributed an astonishing 50 goals between them.

The likes of Scott Brown, James Forrest and Stuart Armstrong have also been rejuvenated under the ex-Liverpool boss.

With a massive 25-point lead at the top of the table it would only be human nature if Celtic were to take their foot of the gas.

But Davies says their relentless pursuit of perfection is testament to Rodgers' determination and that is why the Parkhead side will not slow down even once the flag is claimed.

He explained: "The team haven't let up at all. We had 28 domestic wins on the bounce (before Sunday's 1-1 draw with Rangers) - we're still 35 games undefeated.

"You can't take that for granted what level you have to be at there.

"It's a culture we've tried to instil from day one. The manager has made it clear that we are here to be winners and at our best every single day. That culture has spread and we're here where we are today.

"In any team, (repeated success) comes down to the leadership. The manager we have is a winner. He will do it every day and will never stop.

"That creates that feeling you always have to do more. At a massive club like this you need a strong leader.

"The leadership within the team is important too. Scott Brown is a fantastic leader. He doesn't just want to do it in the games.

"He does it in every drill in training, even when he's warming up and that is so important to creating that winning culture."

Source: PAR