O'Neill laughs off Juninho's criticism
Saturday 02 April 2005
Martin O'Neill, the Celtic manager, has defended his team's style of play and the general standard of the Scottish game from comments by Juninho following his departure.
The Brazilian was quoted as saying he never got a proper chance under O'Neill because of the manager's tactics, while Premier League football was "ridiculous". O'Neill, who joked that he had also blamed everybody but himself when he had to leave Nottingham Forest as a player, countered: "I have seen those things about the long ball dozens of times, but the likes of Neil Lennon, Stilian Petrov, Aiden McGeady and Craig Bellamy are hardly long-ball specialists."
Hearts visit the league leaders today, with Celtic lacking goalkeeper Robert Douglas (groin). Bellamy came back from international duty with a knock but should play. John Hartson (ankle) could be missing but Chris Sutton is now fully fit after pulling his hamstring.
The Hearts midfielder Saulius Mikoliunas had his five-game ban for "exceptional misconduct" cut to three by the Scottish Football Association.
Tomorrow, second-placed Rangers visit Motherwell, who will be without the suspended Jim Hamilton and Shaun Fagan. Terry Butcher's sixth-placed side will want to avenge the 5-1 CIS Insurance Cup final defeat to Rangers two weeks ago.
The Rangers defender Marvin Andrews will not be available. The centre-back had been keen to play despite suffering cruciate ligament damage last month but the club, who want him to have an operation, have vetoed his comeback. Midfielder Thomas Buffel is a doubt after picking up a thigh injury playing for Belgium in midweek.
Latest in Sport
England vs New Zealand second Test match report: England’s bold boast turns into hot air and humiliation
Fifa corruption: Sepp Blatter's right-hand man Jerome Valcke 'sent' $10m payment to Jack Warner in letter from the South African FA
England 'favourites' to host 2018 World Cup after Sepp Blatter resignation - Qatar and Russia under pressure
Michael Schumacher: Bernie Ecclestone reveals why he can't visit former F1 champion because he 'doesn't want to see him like that'
Brendan Rodgers' job safe for now but Liverpool owners plan for improvement
- 1 California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
- 2 Charles Kennedy 'had better judgement drunk than many sober politicians' says Ian Hislop
- 5 We have six months to save the world, says leading economist
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers