Strachan: No spectacular signings for us
The Celtic manager doesn't know what his transfer budget is because as far as he's concerned that side of the business is firmly in Peter Lawwell's hands. "I have no idea what the budget is. We just get together and say, 'Have a look at this player, or what do you think of that one?', and if it's something that the club can afford and it's an investment then they will pull out the stops to get that player." said the Celtic boss. "Peter runs the club the way he sees fit, people will start appreciating what Peter and the directors have done over the last two years, now that you see so many clubs in danger elsewhere."
"I realise there will be clubs, especially in England, who will be trying hard to strengthen their sides at this time because they are in the lower reaches of the league and they'll want to improve their position. But we're in a different world from those clubs, we don't have to be a selling club." added the boss "Sure, it's good for a manager, but even more so for supporters, to know that their club is solvent and hasn't got a problem. A few clubs in England are really sweating just now. Looking back, we've done pretty well on occasion at this time of year."
"But our job in terms of scouting doesn't start on January 1, it has been going on for a long, long time." continued Strachan "We are trying to put things in place, even for the summer. If nobody else comes in then why not go with the same squad? If I get them all fully fit then it's still a smashing squad."
The fans at today's game will be paying particular attention to Dundee United goalkeeper, Lukasz Zaluska, who has already signed for Celtic on a pre-contract agreement. The Pole will join countryman Artur Boruc at the club in the summer and the Celtic manager expects Zaluska to show his quality tomorrow. "We expect every United player to be at their best," he said. "I remember after we had signed Gary Caldwell on a pre-contract agreement he had a tremendous game against us. Players like that, and they include Zaluska, aren't affected by this kind of thing. They are proper professionals, interested only in performing at their best, whatever the circumstances."
"They play at the highest level and you don't get there without that kind of attitude." continued Strachan "United have already played the Old Firm three times this season and haven't lost. I watched them against Hearts and saw two strong, hard teams going at it, well organised, full of ambition, and full of good players. After a period of some years in which Celtic were very strong and United were struggling, this has become one of the great fixtures again."
"It's because of the progress United have made under Craig Levein." added the Celtic boss "They have good players in every department and they are very good at switching styles from home games to away games. They are as hard a team to beat as there is in the Premier League. I know some people may think it's a good thing to have opposition of their quality immediately after winning an Old Firm match, because it will keep us on our toes. I'm not among them. I can tell you I'd rather be playing somebody not as good as them."