Looking For A Favour

Dundee United's 'keeper Lukasz Zaluska has an added incentive to play well today as his countryman, Celtic's Artur Boruc, has promised a bottle of the best champagne if he manages to put the brakes on Rangers' title charge. The pair are close friends from their time at Legia Warsaw and have linked up again since Zaluska moved to Dundee United last summer. Boruc was in the crowd as Zaluska's guest for last month's CIS Cup final against Rangers and will be anxiously watching on television today after his side lost ground yesterday when they lost to Motherwell. Celtic need to rely on other clubs doing them a favour if they are to hang onto the SPL title. However, Zaluska is out to ensure United get all three points on offer to improve their chances in the race for Europe. If he managed to help his friend along the way, so much the better - especially as the offer of expensive bubbly is on the table. He joked: "
Artur has already phoned to remind me it is an important game not just for us and Rangers but also for Celtic. So, obviously, he wants me to keep a clean sheet and, if we can beat Rangers on Sunday, the next time we meet up he'll buy some very good champagne. Although Artur is my friend and I would like to help him if I can, getting points for Dundee United is the most important thing because we want to get into the UEFA Cup."

Ahead to today's game United have a major doubt over defender Lee Wilkie who has not trained all week because of a dead leg but he will be given a late fitness test ahead of the visit by Rangers. Danny Swanson and Garry Kenneth are suspended after picking up red cards against Hearts last weekend so Darren Dods and Jim O'Brien come back into contention.

Team

P

W

D

L

F

A

W

D

L

F

A

GD

PTS

1

Rangers

29

16

0

1

46

9

8

2

2

24

12

49

74

2

Celtic

31

10

4

1

34

4

11

1

4

35

17

48

68

3

Motherwell

31

8

2

4

23

16

8

2

7

18

19

6

52

4

Hibs

33

10

4

3

34

20

4

4

8

13

18

9

50

5

Dundee Utd

32

9

4

3

22

9

5

3

8

23

26

10

49

6

Falkirk

32

6

5

5

17

14

5

4

7

22

28

-3

42

7

Hearts

33

6

4

6

23

22

5

5

7

19

26

-6

42

8

Aberdeen

32

7

5

4

25

18

4

3

9

16

34

-11

41

9

Inverness CT

33

7

1

8

23

27

4

2

11

18

31

-17

36

10

Kilmarnock

33

6

4

7

23

21

2

5

9

11

25

-12

33

11

St Mirren

31

5

3

7

15

24

3

5

8

7

24

-26

32

12

Gretna

32

3

2

11

17

34

1

2

13

12

42

-47

6


Gers striker Daniel Cousin is hoping for the green light to face United today. The Frenchman is close to returning to action following a broken jaw and may be fit for the game. Midfielder Charlie Adam is likely to be missing for several weeks and will have to see a specialist after damaging a knee in training. One man who is hoping to be able to help Rangers deal with their hectic run of big games is Nacho Novo. The Spaniard has had to settle for a role off the bench in the last three games and is keen to get a start. But he admits manager Walter Smith is managing his resources well as Rangers continue their quadruple challenge. Rangers are looking to add to their CIS Insurance Cup trophy, by winning the SPL, Scottish Cup and UEFA Cup. With such challenges ahead, Novo wants to play his part before the season is out, and not always as substitute. Novo said: "
I enjoy starting every game but you also need to think of the team. Maybe years ago I would moan about it and I would go and talk with people and say, `Why am I not playing?'. But I think when you get experience and get older, you need to think more of the team. The only thing I need to do to confuse the gaffer is on the training ground, work really hard and try to get my chance like I've been doing, last year as well. It is tough, I would love to start more games, because when you come on for the last 10 minutes you are not going to score in every game. But I hope to start a few games, so we will see. If not I will come off the bench and try to help."

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