Petrov urges Celtic to back O'Neill in transfer market

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The Independent Online

Stilian Petrov yesterday warned Celtic to back Martin O'Neill in the transfer market or risk losing their prize asset.

Stilian Petrov yesterday warned Celtic to back Martin O'Neill in the transfer market or risk losing their prize asset.

The club's careful chairman, Brian Quinn, promised cash to spend when the January window opened if his side made it through to the knock-out stages of the Champions' League. They missed out, but still have a place in the Uefa Cup.

Motherwell's Stephen Pearson is thought to top of O'Neill's shopping list and, should he miss out on him, then it appears that some of his players fear he could finally leave for one of the big jobs in England. "I hope he does get some money to spend," Petrov said. "Every manager at every club wants to spend some money. He must be handed money. It's now been one or two years since he had something to spend. We have been together for three or four years so it's always good to have fresh faces and to make competition stronger."

O'Neill has injury concerns over his forward trio, Henrik Larsson, Chris Sutton and John Hartson, for their Premier League game against Motherwell at Fir Park tomorrow. Larsson suffered a back injury in the CIS Insurance Cup defeat to Hibernian on Thursday and will be given until the last moment. X-rays have shown that Sutton has a bruised rather than a broken hand and he will be looking to play along with Hartson.

Meanwhile, Europe's governing body Uefa have confirmed that Neil Lennon has been banned for two matches confronting a referee during the recent Champions' League game against Lyon.

Rangers welcome back midfielder Mikel Arteta against Hearts following the Spaniard's recovery from a leg muscle injury. The striker Shota Arveladze is ready to start after a comeback from a knee injury as substitute at Dunfermline last week.

Hearts have a minor crisis, with defenders Steven Pressley (thigh), Andy Webster, Alan Maybury (both suspended) and Steven Boyack (groin) missing.

The defender Colin Murdock is back for Hibs against Dunfermline after suspension and he supplements the squad which beat Celtic. Their manager, Bobby Williamson, is still missing key players. Yannick Zambernardi (thigh), Roland Edge (ankle), Paul Fenwick (illness), Stephen Glass (knee) and Ian Murray (stomach) all miss out.

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