O'Neill admits European flaw as Thompson returns for Celtic
Saturday 13 December 2003
Martin O'Neill conceded yesterday that the Celtic squad was not good enough for the knock-out rounds of the Champions' League, but maintained that the club had made strides on the European stage despite again failing to make the final stages of the competition though they only needed a point against Lyon on Wednesday.
"I have to admit that the squad wasn't strong enough but that's the way it goes," O'Neill said. The Ulsterman was promised more money if his team got through to the next stages, but now the board are unlikely to release much cash.
Chris Sutton is back in training after a knee injury against Lyon while Alan Thompson should return to face Dundee at Parkhead after missing the game in France through suspension. John Hartson's calf injury is likely to keep him out.
Dundee's manager, Jim Duffy, may again be forced to play a less than 100 per cent fit Gavin Rae after losing 15 of his players when the club went into administration. The striker Steve Lovell is still out of action, but the midfielder Mark Fotheringham is back.
Tomorrow Rangers visit Dunfermline, whose defender Scott Thomson is still ruled out with a thigh injury. The Rangers striker Shota Arveladze returns after a knee injury, but Mikel Arteta's comeback is delayed. The midfielder Emerson is still absent on compassionate leave following the death of his father.
Steven Pressley returns for Hearts' home game against Kilmarnock after four games out with a thigh injury. The striker Mark de Vries (hamstring) will be given a late fitness test.
The Kilmarnock midfielder Gary McDonald is back but Danny Invincibile and Gary Locke are not yet fit after ankle injuries. Striker Kris Boyd and midfielder Peter Canero should be available despite midweek knocks. Alan Mahood (knee), Craig Dargo (ankle) and Shaun Dillon (knee) are all still out.
Motherwell miss David Partridge (groin) and Steven Craig (knee), but Scott Leitch's Achilles may not be risked in midfield for the home game against Hibernian. Paul Quinn should return after a knee injury.
Hibs' winger Stephen Glass is back from a knee injury, along with Steven Whittaker. But Yannick Zambernardi (thigh), Ian Murray (stomach muscle) and Roland Edge (ankle) are all out.
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