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English clubs eye Celtic talent

Aiden McGeady congratulates Scott McDonald after his Old Firm derby goal
McGeady and McDonald are targets for clubs in England

By Chick Young

Celtic boss Tony Mowbray is bracing himself for bids for several players, with Birmingham, Wigan, Ipswich and Middlesbrough among interested parties.

Ipswich boss Roy Keane watched Celtic draw 1-1 with Rangers on Sunday, but his possible £1m target Stephen McManus did not play in the Old Firm derby.

Birmingham, linked with winger Aiden McGeady, had a scout at the match.

Middlesbrough boss Gordon Strachan was there to watch Gary Caldwell and Scott McDonald, who is also a Wigan target.

Mowbray admitted after Sunday's draw at Celtic Park that players were likely to leave during January, to be replaced with others he believes will improve their chances of regaining the Scottish title.

Celtic remain seven points behind reigning champions Rangers, although Mowbray's side have a game in hand, after the second Old Firm game of the season.

Some people will be leaving the club in January and I think some people will be coming in

Celtic manager Tony Mowbray

"This team is growing and will grow and we are in January now and I'd like to think the team will improve and get better with some additions coming in during January and some leaving," he told BBC Scotland.

"I am trying to build a team not just this season to win the league but to win the league for the next five seasons, or six seasons.

"You can only do that by adding a bit of quality along the way and hopefully we can do that.

"I don't think any bids have been tabled for any of our players, but some people will be leaving the club in January and I think some people will be coming in."

Former Celtic manager Strachan is looking to improve his Middlesbrough squad as he attempts to overcome poor early form under his stewardship.

He is known to be an admirer of Caldwell and Celtic's negotiations with the 27-year-old, whose contract ends in the summer, have stalled and the Scotland central defender is free to speak to other clubs in January.

Caldwell's return from suspension on Sunday led to the demotion of international colleague McManus, also 27, to the bench as Glenn Loovens retained his place in the side.

Australia striker McDonald, 26, who scored Celtic's goal after coming on as a substitute against Rangers, is thought to have been unhappy that he has often been left out of the starting line-up under Mowbray.

Meanwhile, 23-year-old McGeady is likely to have won even more admirers after another fine performance, but Celtic would demand a major fee to part with the Republic of Ireland international and will be keen to retain his services.

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Birmingham's Alex McLeish is a known admirer from his days as Rangers manager and Malky Thomson was at Celtic Park to represent the Barclays Premier League club.

McGeady's performance was not the only positive sign Mowbray took from his side's display against Rangers despite being held to a draw at home.

"We were in the ascendency for the vast majority of the game," he said.

"We controlled it for long long spells and chances came and went.

"We can take heart from the performance of the team and I believe that, as we move on to the rest of the season, the quality that we possess will be enough to bring the title back here.

"Hopefully, our brand of football will do that in the long run."



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see also
Blues prepare fresh bid for Boyd
03 Jan 10 |  Rangers
Celtic 1-1 Rangers
03 Jan 10 |  Scottish Premier
Caldwell bullish over wage demand
07 Oct 09 |  Celtic


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