Tony Docherty refused to buy into the notion that the pressure of chasing a cinch Premiership title might cause Celtic to wobble against his Dundee side on Wednesday.

The Hoops have been widely criticised and questioned in recent weeks after being overtaken by city rivals Rangers at the top of the table following draws in two of their last four league matches.

There is a perception building that Brendan Rodgers’ side are feeling the heat of a tense title race, but Docherty will prepare for a strong challenge from the defending champions at Celtic Park.

“In the Old Firm there’s going to be that pressure,” said the Dundee boss. “There’s two points between them and they’re both going for a title, but we can’t affect that. We can only affect our performance and what we do on the pitch.

“We’re under no illusions about the size of the task ahead of us. We’re going to Celtic Park and they’re the champions for a reason. We know what we need to do to try and get something from it.

“As a manager, I’m very much focused on performance. I want to see a level of performance both offensively and defensively that causes Celtic problems. And if we do that, we give ourselves a chance of picking up a point or points.”

Dundee remain in sixth place, two points ahead of Hibernian despite their disappointing 2-1 defeat at Easter Road on Saturday.

“There’s still huge optimism,” said Docherty. “There has to be a bit of realism and we need to remember we’re the newly-promoted team.

“And being the newly-promoted team, it’s nights like this, going to Celtic Park, that are why you want to get yourself on to this stage.

“You want to test yourself against the champions but to do that you need to make sure you’re at your best.”