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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 June 2006, 15:13 GMT 16:13 UK
Pompey cool interest in Hartson
Hartson has scored countless important goals for Celtic
Hartson has scored countless important goals for Celtic
Portsmouth could still move for Celtic's John Hartson, but chairman Milan Mandaric told BBC Sport the club are concentrating on other targets.

Celtic have accepted an offer for the 31-year-old from West Brom but it is understood that Hartson would rather hold out for a Premiership move.

Mandaric has discussed the matter with Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp.

"Harry still rates John but he has other players he is considering now," said Mandaric.

The Portsmouth chairman said he was not ruling out a move for the striker, but that they did not plan to put in an offer at this stage.

Hartson had been quoted as being "shocked and disappointed" by the news that the SPL champions had accepted an offer for him from West Brom.

He was reportedly critical of Celtic's handling of the situation, but on Thursday his agent and Celtic issued a joint statement in response to those reports.

His agent, Jonathan Barnett, said: "There has been a lot of media coverage and speculation with regards to John's situation at Celtic, but at the moment, John is not certain to leave the club.

"I was given permission several months ago by Celtic to speak to other clubs in relation to John. This has been done and certain clubs have expressed an interest to Celtic.

Our supporters can rest assured that we are working hard to strengthen the squad for next season
Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell

"To suggest that Celtic have acted improperly is totally inaccurate. I have always had excellent dealings with Celtic and in this case, as always, the club has acted professionally."

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell added: "We can confirm that a number of months ago, for various reasons, Jonathan Barnett was given permission to speak to other football clubs on John's behalf.

"This is something which Jonathan did and there has been a degree of interest. Over a number of years, John Hartson has been a great servant to Celtic and has made a fantastic contribution to the club.

"The club will not make any further comment at this time but as always, in relation to the movement of any players in or out of the club, as soon as something is definitive, then we will inform our supporters.

"Our supporters can rest assured that we are working hard to strengthen the squad for next season to face the domestic and Champions League challenges which lie ahead."

The striker had recently resolved to stay in Glasgow after sorting out aspects of his domestic situation.

"I had no intention or desire to leave the club this summer and I would like the fans to know that," Hartson told the Daily Record.

"I've retired from international football to give myself more time to see my kids and I was totally focused on going back to Celtic and trying to help the club reclaim the title and make a real push in the Champions League.

"I love the club so much, in fact, that I'd spoken to friends recently about staying on for another year and ending my career in Glasgow. But now this. It has knocked me for six."

Strachan says Hartson can leave
07 Apr 06 |  Scottish Premier


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