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Page last updated at 18:55 GMT, Saturday, 13 February 2010

Aberdeen manager Mark McGhee angered by 'media spin'

Aberdeen manager Mark McGhee
McGhee was encouraged his his side's display against Celtic

Aberdeen manager Mark McGhee was angry that his "professional integrity" had been questioned in the build-up to his side's 4-4 draw with Celtic.

Newspapers speculated on Friday that McGhee would field a weakened team against Celtic ahead of Tuesday's Scottish Cup replay with Raith Rovers.

"It was scandalous the way it was spun," McGhee told Aberdeen's website.

"The people who wrote that disappointed me because as far as I'm concerned they questioned my professional integrity."

Celtic were looking to narrow the gap on Scottish Premier League leaders Rangers to five points ahead of the Ibrox side's clash with Hibernian on Sunday, but the distance between the Old Firm sides now sits at seven points.

"It is insulting to me and I feel I was betrayed," said McGhee, recalling a conversation with the Rangers manager.

"I was talking to Walter Smith at Hampden on Thursday and the most important person to ask if he had any doubts as to my commitment to beating Celtic is Walter.

"I have tried very hard to cultivate relationships with the press, appreciate what they have to do and help them as much as I can

"I will say it again, I was brought up a Celtic supporter, like all of us we have a club and that doesn't change.

"But I wanted to walk down Byres Road and look Rangers fans in the eye with them knowing that I am trying to take points off Celtic as well as Rangers.

"I will leave Aberdeen fans to judge for themselves as to our commitment and determination to take something out of the game."

McGhee's men produced a spirited comeback from 4-2 down to claim the draw with Celtic.

I thought that Celtic got their four goals a lot easier than we did, so I was disappointed in that. We competed, we passed it and we made a lot of chances, even before the goals to get back in the game

Mark McGhee

"At 4-2, I felt we could get something and you don't often feel that, particularly against Celtic," McGhee told BBC Scotland.

"I thought, if we could get a goal quick enough, I still felt that we had the legs and the desire and that's the way it worked out.

"So, when the fourth goal went in, I wasn't surprised."

Steven MacLean, who joined Aberdeen on loan after Lee Miller had left Pittodrie to join Middlesbrough, converted a penalty before striking the home side's late equaliser and McGhee was delighted with the striker's overall performance.

"I think, with any team, particularly the type of team I like to have with the type of football I want to play eventually, you need someone like Lee Miller or like Steven MacLean, who holds the ball up and gives time for other players to get around about him," said McGhee.

"He did that brilliantly today and got goals as well.

"But today, I felt we conceded goals a little bit easily, the first one before the game's even started. So, we kept putting ourselves on our back foot.

"I thought that Celtic got their four goals a lot easier than we did, so I was disappointed in that.

"We competed, we passed it and we made a lot of chances, even before the goals to get back in the game.

"It was good pressure as well and that is important at home because that's what fans expect to see, the supporters expect to see you dominate at home regardless of whether you're playing Celtic or not.

"Celtic really played against us on the counter-attack today, which is unusual. Celtic normally aren't a counter-attacking team, they're usually the team that hem you in and play around the edge of your box and you're asked to counter-attack, whether you're at home or away."

And, asked if Friday's speculation had galvanised his team, McGhee replied: "I don't think so, no. I don't think anyone in our dressing-room knows anything about that."



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see also
Aberdeen 4-4 Celtic
13 Feb 10 |  Scottish Premier
Aberdeen speculation riles McGhee
12 Feb 10 |  Aberdeen


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