Sutton ready to make his mark

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The Independent Online

Chris Sutton claims his difficult experience at Chelsea has not affected his attitude to the game and that the underrated Scottish Premier League is the perfect place to prove his doubters wrong.

Chris Sutton claims his difficult experience at Chelsea has not affected his attitude to the game and that the underrated Scottish Premier League is the perfect place to prove his doubters wrong.

Sutton lasted just 12 months at Stamford Bridge before opting to take the biggest gamble of his career and move north to Celtic during the summer. Despite scoring just one Premiership goal for the London side, the new Parkhead manager, Martin O'Neill - who is also expected to discuss a loan move for Manchester United's goalkeeper Mark Bosnich this week - was persuaded to part with a Scottish record £6m for the former England striker.

His faith was rewarded instantly when Sutton grabbed the winner at Tannadice Park on Sunday to ensure O'Neill's tenure started on a triumphant note with a 2-1 victory over Dundee United. It was a dream finish to a match Sutton had not been expected to start after being troubled by an ankleinjury in the build-up to the new campaign.

"People think I was shot to bits at Chelsea," said Sutton. "It didn't go well, there is no denying that. But I would have been a fool not to leave Blackburn.

"I missed a couple of chances in my first game against Sunderland and when you are a striker, goals give you confidence. The arrival of George Weah didn't help either and when the fans know their club has paid a bit of money for you, they expect certain things.

"But I haven't done badly anywhere else and, although I am nowhere near as fit as I would like to be, I have started well at Celtic."

Having opted to join the Scottish Premier League, Sutton is now faced with another set of problems. No matter how many goals he scores north of the border, his efforts are certain to be derided by those who argue he is now plying his trade in a substandard footballing country. However, it could also be argued that as his goal tally mounts, Sutton will rediscover the confidence which helped him form such a deadly partnership with Alan Shearer at Blackburn, culminating in the Premiership title in 1995.

The former Norwich player has not hit the same heights since, but he is bound to improve playing alongside the talented Henrik Larsson every week and, though an international recall may be some way off, his burly presence should at least ensure Celtic's supporters will not regret the departure of Mark Viduka to Leeds.

"Sometimes people make judgements which are not correct," said Sutton. "No matter what happened at Chelsea, no one could accuse me of shirking anything. I am not bitter about what happened. I just have to accept it and move on.

"People knock the Scottish Premier League, but in my opinion it is underrated. Sometimes tactically it is a bit different to England, but there are some very fit players and they put you under pressure."

The Bosnich situation moved on, meanwhile, when the player's agent, Steve Kutner, confirmed the goalkeeper will meet O'Neill later this week to discuss a proposed one-year loan move to Parkhead.

Bosnich has been pushed out of the first-team picture at Old Trafford with the arrival of the French goalkeeper Fabien Barthez from Monaco in a £7.8m deal this summer.

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