Former Celtic star Charlie Mulgrew has told us that the Hoops can use this weekend’s William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final as a chance to turn their season around.  

After a run of three games without a win for the Glasgow giants, many might argue this is the perfect time for Aberdeen to play the Scottish Cup holders, but Mulgrew thinks the opposite.

“I think Celtic will win this one given the amount of pressure on the players and they need to respond after a difficult spell.

“Aberdeen are getting them at a bad time. There should be a reaction from Celtic after those three games against difficult sides by playing Aberdeen at Pittodrie and home games against AC Milan and Rangers, who are in good form.

“There’s pressure on the manager as well as the players, but I’m sure Neil Lennon will have them fired up and make them aware of the responsibility of playing for Celtic and the importance of winning games, semi-finals, and finals.

“Neil’s main strength as a manager is his man management and his team talks. Being under pressure is part of being a manager at a club like Celtic and he’ll know as well as anybody that it can turn quickly and by getting a result on Sunday things will start looking a lot better.

In the opposite technical area on Sunday will be Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes, who Mulgrew knows well following their spell together at Dundee United.

“I travelled with Del when we were at Dundee United and I was always impressed by how he spoke about management. He’s done a great job at Aberdeen and brought a lot of consistency over the last eight years. They keep losing players but reproducing more, which is credit to Derek and Tony Docherty.”

Before Sunday’s match, there could be fireworks in the other semi-final as Hibs and Hearts face off in an Edinburgh derby on Saturday night, and Mulgrew believes the final will be tightly contested should Aberdeen spring a surprise and knock Celtic out.

“If Celtic win on Sunday they are favourites, otherwise it’s a toss of a coin who can win the final. Hibs are flying this year while Hearts have got good players like Steven Naismith, so it’s hard to say but if Celtic win on Sunday I can’t see anyone else winning it as they are made for the big occasions.”

Mulgrew has fond memories of the Scottish Cup, winning it twice with his boyhood club and scoring a free kick in a 3-0 win against Motherwell in the 2011 final, which is one of the highlights of his career to date.

“Obviously, it was a dream come true to score in the Scottish Cup final. I grew up a Celtic fan and to seal the game with that goal was special. I practiced smashing free kicks in the lead up to it and thankfully it went in, but it was a surreal moment for me. I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about it.”

The Hoops will know that a win against the Dons this weekend will put them closer to winning an unprecedented quadruple treble – four back-to-back domestic treble wins – and Mulgrew reckons that achievement would be up there as one of the best in the history of Scottish football.

“It’s unbelievable really. We all used to recognise trebles as huge achievements and now we’re talking about quadruple trebles. I don’t think it will be appreciated properly for another 10 or 15 years down the line.

“I’ve played for Celtic and people say that you should be winning everything domestically but it’s not that easy. You’re playing 40-50 games a season and every time you face a team it’s their cup final and you need to win them all. There’s no room to slip up.

“It’s an unbelievable achievement if they can pull it off and something we’d look back at in years to come with fond memories.”

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