BBC SPORT Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC Sport
 You are in: Football: Teams: Celtic  
Sport Front Page
-------------------
Football
Teams
Statistics
FA Cup
Eng Prem
Internationals
Champions League
Uefa Cup
Eng Div 1
Eng Div 2
Eng Div 3
Eng Conf
Scot Prem
Scottish Cup
Scot Div 1
Scot Div 2
Scot Div 3
Europe
Africa
League of Wales
Cricket
Rugby Union
Rugby League
Tennis
Golf
Motorsport
Boxing
Athletics
Other Sports
-------------------
Special Events
-------------------
Sports Talk
-------------------
BBC Pundits
TV & Radio
Question of Sport
-------------------
Photo Galleries
Funny Old Game
-------------------
Around The UK: 
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales

BBC Sport Academy
BBC News
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS

Wednesday, 12 February, 2003, 13:41 GMT
O'Neill hints at Hartson return
John Hartson in more celebratory mood
John Hartson was unhappy at being substituted

Celtic boss Martin O'Neill insists that John Hartson is in line for a recall to his side despite their bust-up during the CIS Cup semi-final victory over Dundee United.

But O'Neill has hinted that the Welsh striker could face a battle for his place with the "Beckhamesque" Shaun Maloney.

Hartson was absent, apparently dropped, for Sunday's Scottish Premier League match against Livingston.

And Maloney's skilful free-kicks were instrumental in the reigning champions' comeback from a goal down to win 2-1.

Of course John will be in contention this weekend

Celtic boss Martin O'Neill
Top scorer Henrik Larsson suffered a double jawbreak at Celtic Park and that appears to have ensured Hartson's return to the fold despite the volley of words aimed at his manager and captured by television cameras at Hampden.

O'Neill, whose side face Motherwell on Sunday, told Celtic View: "Of course John will be in contention this weekend.

"He is a great striker whose record here has been nothing short of excellent."

Maloney followed up his excellent form against Livingston by scoring direct from a free-kick on Tuesday as Scotland Under-21s defeated their Irish counterparts 2-0.

"Shaun's ability from free-kick situations is outstanding," said O'Neill. "It is Beckhamesque."

O'Neill will also be an interested spectator should winger Jamie Smith make an appearance for Scotland's senior squad on Wednesday.

Smith received a surprise call to the Scotland squad after making only a handful of appearances for Celtic this season.

But Celtic Under-21 coach Kenny McDowall insisted: "It's been richly deserved.

"He's flying right now and I'm sure he'll take his recent form into the Scotland team if given the chance.

Lubo was very happy for me and believes I will do well

Celtic defender Stanislav Varga
"He has that pace that's so vital to top-class players these days and I don't think any defender would have an easy time against him."

O'Neill has also added former Sunderland defender Stanislav Varga to his squad and the new signing could make his debut should he receive his work permit in time.

Varga knows he faces a tough task matching the impact of former international team-mate Lubo Moravcik in Glasgow.

"Lubo is a big hero in Slovakia, he is one of my all-time idols and I enjoyed watching him play for Celtic very much," he said.

"He was one of the first people I spoke to after signing. He was very happy for me and believes I will do well."

See also:

11 Feb 03 | Celtic
10 Feb 03 | Celtic
10 Feb 03 | Celtic
13 Feb 03 | Scot Prem
Links to more Celtic stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Celtic stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

Sport Front Page | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League |
Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Other Sports |
Special Events | Sports Talk | BBC Pundits | TV & Radio | Question of Sport |
Photo Galleries | Funny Old Game | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales