GLASGOW, February 17 – Japanese midfield star Shunsuke Nakamura has vowed to end his stint at Celtic by helping them see off the challenge from Old Firm rivals for the Scottish Premier League title.
The 30-year crowd favourite started Sunday’s goalless draw with Rangers just four days after playing in Japan’s vital World Cup qualifier against Australia in Yokohama.
He has also been dogged by niggling injuries this season, but is determined to leave Parkhead in the summer to play for Yokohama Marinos having helped Gordon Strachan’s team claim a fourth successive Premier League title.
"We’ve played lots of games this season so far, but I am going to be prepared for the end of the season," he told the Scottish Daily Express
"We played well in the first half (against Rangers) but they dominated the second half. We just couldn’t pass the ball around well enough.
"Everyone has to move more during the game. The first half was fine but we just didn’t keep things tight enough in the second half and we have to modify that."
Celtic and Rangers are both on course for a domestic treble, with next month’s League Cup final set to decide which of them is eliminated from that particular race.
Celtic’s Dutch striker Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink cannot wait for the all-Old Firm affair.
"I’ve been told there hasn’t been a cup final between Celtic and Rangers for six years," he said..
"Everyone tells me that it will be a special atmosphere for this one and I can’t wait. There will be a good build-up to the game and I’m looking forward to taking it all in.
"I have played in one final for Celtic already, but never against Rangers. It is a one-off match with a trophy at stake and I hope we can make a little bit of history."