Football: Celtic players unite in pay row

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The Independent Online
THE CELTIC captain, Tom Boyd, has stressed that the players are united in their dispute with the club's management over European win bonuses. The internal row has divided the club on the eve of today's Champions' League qualifier against Croatia Zagreb.

Reading from a prepared statement signed "The Players of Celtic FC", Boyd responded to assertions by the managing director, Fergus McCann, that their bonus demands were "outrageous".

Boyd claimed the figures stated by McCann - of around pounds 25,000 per player - were false, and said the issue had been raised before. The dispute became public on Monday, when the planned launch of Celtic's new away kit was cancelled after three players, Marc Rieper, Regi Blinker and Jackie McNamara, failed to attend.

Describing the players' actions as "a stance of non-cooperation", Boyd said the developments were "the culmination of months of trying to resolve the situation in an amicable way", before reaffirming that the action had been taken after consultation with all the squad members.

McCann yesterday made it clear he took a dim view of the affair. "I am not sure we should do anything after the approach taken by the players," he said.