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Olympics2000

Friday, 18 August, 2000, 14:39 GMT 15:39 UK
Dundee Utd v St Johnstone preview
Michael O'Neill in action for Wigan Athletic
Michael O'Neill in action for Wigan Athletic
St Johnstone have signed midfielder Michael O'Neill on a short-term contract and he could make his debut against former club Dundee United on a day of similar significance to a fellow Northern Ireland internationalist.

Danny Griffin moved from McDiarmid Park to Tannadice for 600,000 in the summer, but he has only just returned after injury and has pleaded with new manager Alex Smith to allow him to make his debut against his former club.

O'Neill, who also numbers Hibernian, Newcastle United and Coventry City as previous clubs, was at Motherwell at the start of the week, where the Fir Park management were assessing him in training.

However, Saints manager Sandy Clark is delighted to have captured the 31-year-old, who will be drafted into the squad for Saturday's visit to Tannadice.

Higher

O'Neill was with Wigan Athletic in the English second division last season, but Clark is sure he can again operate at a higher level.

"He is an excellent addition to the squad," said the Saints boss.

Meanwhile, Griffin, is urging Smith to hand him his debut against his old club.

Danny Griffin wants to face United
Danny Griffin wants to face United
Griffin came through the final 15 minutes of the midweek 2-1 friendly defeat by Yugoslavia without reaction to his knee injury.

Now he is hoping that new interim manager Smith will throw him a place on, at least, the substitutes' bench - from where he dreams of scoring the winner against his old team-mates.

"I would love to do that," admits Griffin.

"There has been no reaction to the injury from the game in Belfast. "I have come through it alright. It was a good work-out for me.

Quality

"Yugoslavia are a quality side and it was good preparation for when the World Cup qualifiers begin against Malta next month.

"I can't say whether I will be playing on Saturday, but I hope that I will.

"I have not really trained under the new manager and I will wait and see what happens.

"We have not had a good start to the season and we need three points on Saturday to build on the hard-working performance last week."

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