Magilton 'is still a Saint'

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The Southampton manager, Dave Jones, has denied claims that the club captain, Jim Magilton, is bound for Celtic. Reports last week had suggested that the Northern Ireland international, who is out of contract at The Dell, was virtually a Celtic player. But Jones said that he believed the player himself had no wish to quit the club.

"On Friday, one press man told me he'd signed for Celtic," Jones said. "I found that quite funny because he was running round warming up with us. Unless he's got a clone I don't know where they got that idea.

"I was told we'd even sold him for pounds 500,000, and we haven't even put a figure on it. Jim hasn't spoken to Celtic and Celtic haven't spoken to us. We just find the whole situation a little bit annoying at the moment."

Jones' words hinted that he felt selective leaking to the Scottish press had been deliberately mischievous. However, he declined to say who he thought was responsible.

Up in Newcastle, Alessandro Pistone is quickly becoming the new hero of the Toon Army. The pounds 4.3m former Internazionale player has made an outstanding start to his career in the Premiership, so much so that replica shirts carrying his name and No 23 are currently outselling those of any other St James's Park player.

Since Newcastle launched their new away strip last week they have sold more than 5,000, a quarter of which carry the name of the Italian Under- 21 international. Alan Shearer is the next most popular, with nine per cent of the new shirts carrying his name and number.