Efe Ambrose is relishing the challenge to Celtic’s Scottish Premiership title this season.
The champions lost their place at the top of the league to Aberdeen on New Year’s Day when the Dons beat St Johnstone 2-0 at Pittodrie before the Hoops’ game at Partick Thistle later on was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
Aberdeen won again yesterday, beating Motherwell 2-0 to open up a four-point lead at the top ahead of Celtic’s clash with Kilmarnock tonight (kick-off 8pm).
However, Celtic defender Ambrose believes any possible threat to their title will simply bring the best out in Ronny Deila’s Celtic squad.
“Aberdeen are at the top and they deserve it, they are a great team and have been playing well,” said Ambrose.
“We respect them and we look for the challenge from them. Not just them, Dundee United, so we need to step up.
“The best of Celtic is going to come because we know there are teams behind us trying to take the title from us.
“What we need to do is win every game from now until the end of the season and I believe we have the ability and squad that can do that.
“But it is easier said than done. People think it is easy for Celtic to win the league but it isn’t. Every team wants to beat Celtic so that makes it difficult. It puts pressure on us and it is not easy.
“We have to have the character. We have not been at our best, but that is football. I think it will change this year. Against Kilmarnock it is going to be a different Celtic team.”
Celtic will fly out to Gran Canaria for a winter break following their first trip to Rugby Park this season.
Deila insists he has no problems with playing on Killie’s artificial pitch even though he has yet to see it.
The Norwegian said: “I think it is much better to play on a good artificial pitch than to play on bumpy natural grass.
“The tempo of the game is high and the ball will move very quick.
“I have a lot of experience with artificial pitch so it is normal for me but I understand it is different for the players.”