Ganea apology for Kennedy tackle leaves O'Neill cold

Martin O'Neill described as "meaningless" Vio Ganea's apology for the challenge which has left John Kennedy fighting for his career.

Kennedy faces at least a year out of the game after his Scotland debut in midweek was ruined by a "woeful" lunge from the Romanian. The Wolves striker has since said he was sorry for his tackle, but that did nothing to ease O'Neill's anger.

"I don't know about John but that doesn't mean a great deal to myself," he snapped. "It's all right coming out with an apology afterwards but the lad's career is in jeopardy. The lunge was utterly uncalled for."

O'Neill had intended to rest such internationals as Alan Thompson, Stilian Petrov, Johan Mjallby and Stanislav Varga, but with Kennedy out they might have to be called upon.

The midfielder Neil Lennon is also ruled out having sustained a knock in the victory at Rangers last week, while O'Neill has added youngsters Aiden McGeady and Kevin McBride, with the goalkeeper, Robert Douglas (hip), Stephen Pearson (leg) and Jackie McNamara (thigh) still out.

O'Neill's Rangers counterpart, Alex McLeish, said his players are too proud to hand Celtic the league title this weekend. His side will head into Sunday's game against Motherwell knowing that if the Hoops have won 24 hours earlier against Hearts, a defeat for the Ibrox club would hand the championship to Celtic.

"It's going to happen sooner or later but obviously we don't want it to be at the expense of us dropping points away from home - we have still got our pride," McLeish said. "They [Motherwell] have shown a lot of commitment against us but I would like to see us go there and win the game and start being aggressive like we were last season, even though it's too late to do anything about silverware."

Injury-hit Dundee may be forced to throw the defender Jonay Hernandez straight into the line-up against Partick hours after his return from international duty in South America.

The Venezuelan was part of the side which beat Uruguay 3-0 in a World Cup qualifying match, but was not expected back in Scotland until late last night. His manager, Jim Duffy, expects the player to be weary, but with the influential Lee Wilkie and Barry Smith both out with knee problems, Dundee need as many experienced players as they can field.

The youngsters Steven McNally and Chris Hegarty - the son of the Dundee United legend Paul - have been retained in the squad, but Duffy admits he will give his regular first-team players every chance to play, even if they are not 100 per cent fit.

Dundee's Trinidadian defender Brent Sancho was also in action for his country during the week and arrived back in Scotland on Thursday.