First Team

Craig: Whelan will be involved

22nd August 2019

Craig Levein ruled out John Souttar and Steven Naismith for Sunday's trip to Celtic Park but confirmed Glenn Whelan will have some part to play.

Speaking to the media about Souttar and Naismith, Craig said: "Maybe just a little bit quick for both of them, unfortunately.

"I was hoping we'd get one or two of them for this weekend but unfortunately I don't think that's not going to happen.... or I might be bluffing!"

Despite Celtic's European struggles, the manager is expecting another tough trip to the reigning champions.

"They started the season, particularly in the league, in really good form. I expect the Celtic that played in the two league games to turn up at this game on Sunday."

However, Craig goes into the match confident that new signing Glenn Whelan will make his debut after he appeared on the bench last weekend.

"He'll definitely be involved on Sunday," the gaffer said. "I don't know whether I'm starting him or he'll come off the bench at some point. I haven't made that decision yet.

Asked what Glenn brings to the team, Craig added: "Experience. Calmness. A voice on the field. I'm always looking for those. In line with a lot of the other senior players we've had here in the last three or four years, he will be a fantastic example to the younger players.

"We've had the good fortune to have Don Cowie, Aaron Hughes, and Christophe Berra and Steven MacLean just now - I'm sure there's other I've forgotten about.

"He's a really good pro, playing at a very high level at 35 years-old, which is always a compliment to any player."

You can watch Craig's press conference in full by clicking here.