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Last Updated: Friday, 21 April 2006, 12:52 GMT 13:52 UK
Petrov demands Celtic departure
Stilian Petrov stands on the sidelines during title celebrations
Stilian Petrov cut a lonesome figure at Celtic's title celebrations
Celtic midfielder Stilian Petrov is anxious to leave, despite the club turning down his transfer request.

"It's my wish to leave at the end of the season," he said. "I hope Celtic are going to respect my wishes.

"The manager told me he knew exactly how I was feeling. He said he is going to respect my wish but he is going to fight to keep me at this club.

"I want to test myself on a different level and learn what I can't here. I can't do that here."

The 26-year-old Bulgaria captain signed a new contract in January, committing himself to the champions until 2010.

And manager Gordon Strachan pointed out: "Ultimately, we have the power to decide how and when he leaves."

The player hit the headlines when he took a back seat during last Sunday's Scottish Premier League title celebrations.

If I hadn't signed a new contract, the club would not have got a lot of money
Stilian Petrov

And it was widely reported that Petrov had a dressing-room argument with Strachan at half-time during the 1-1 draw with Hibernian.

However, the player dismissed those stories as "a big lie".

"I have always been loyal to Celtic and I hope they recognise what I have done," added Petrov, who arrived from CSKA Sofia for 2.2m in 1999.

"I have given Celtic the chance to get money so they can be active in the transfer market.

"If I hadn't signed a new contract, the club would not have got a lot of money.

"Now they are going to have enough money to go and buy a player. There are two winners here.

"I told them when I signed I had thoughts about playing somewhere else. They knew this could happen. We could have let it go on but it wasn't right.

"I have given my best here but I am the type of guy who wants to learn and better himself all the time."

Strachan has not given up hope of keeping one of his key players at Celtic Park.

"It might be a worry that this could have an effect on the player and those around him," said the manager.

"But, despite him wanting to move on, we are relaxed about it.

"You are talking to someone who asked Alex Ferguson for a move in 1992 and I was told to go forth and multiply.

"I was there the next two years, won a few more trophies and just got on with it."

Petrov, capped 50 times for his country, has helped Celtic to four titles, while they have also won the Scottish Cup and CIS Insurance Cup three times in his time at the club.


SEE ALSO
Celtic may pursue Hartley again
21 Apr 06 |  Scottish Premier
Petrov extends stay with Celtic
27 Jan 06 |  Celtic


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