Strachan unmoved by McGeady row

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The Independent Football

Celtic manager Gordon Strachan yesterday scoffed at suggestions that his bust-up with Aiden McGeady has presented him with his biggest test in his time at Parkhead.

The 22-year-old Republic of Ireland international was excluded from training with the first team for two weeks and fined two weeks' wages after a dressing-room disagreement with Strachan following last Saturday's draw with Hearts.

McGeady (below), who was "shocked" by the severity of the punishment, intends to appeal the decision which will ensure the saga rumbles on into the new year unless the player is sold in the January transfer window.

McGeady's plight has dominated Scottish football this week but Strachan began his weekly press conference ahead of tomorrow's trip to Falkirk attempting to maintain the club's official position on the issue. "For you it was the story of the week," he said. "It's different for me. But I will take you back to Tuesday when we made the statement. Nothing has changed from then and that's it as far as I'm concerned. The statement is self-explanatory and that is all we have to say."

However, asked if he had endured his most challenging week at Celtic in the three-and-half seasons he has been in charge of the club, the Hoops boss, who confirmed that McGeady had been using the training facilities at Lennoxtown, replied: "Far from it, I can assure you. There have been far, far, far, far – and I can keep going with these fars for a long time – worse weeks than this."

Rangers will today attempt to cut Celtic's lead at the top of the SPL to one point as they entertain Hibernian, who beat Celtic two weeks ago, at Ibrox, ahead of hosting the Old Firm game next Saturday.

"The Hibs game is extremely important for us," said midfielder Steven Davis. "It's a home game and a chance to get three points and go into the Old Firm game on the back of a win."

Rangers confirmed yesterday that striker Jean-Claude Darcheville will leave the club on 1 January to join French side Valenciennes.