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  Friday, 20 September, 2002, 04:28 GMT 05:28 UK
O'Neill hints at new deal
Martin O'Neill
Defeat by Basel had left O'Neill depressed
Martin O'Neill has given the strongest hint yet that he will soon sign a new contract with Celtic.

The Scottish champion's manager has been coy about his future to date and appeared haunted by the Champions League qualifying defeat by Swiss side Basel.

But after the Uefa Cup thrashing of Suduva on Thursday night, he hinted his future remained at Parkhead.

He told BBC Scotland he hoped there might be something to be announced from contract talks with major shareholder Dermot Desmond after the first Old Firm match of the season on 6 October.


I think, with the free week next week, we should start talking
Celtic boss Martin O'Neill
The Scottish Premier League has a break for an international weekend following the meeting with Rangers.

O'Neill said: "I think, with the free week next week, we should start talking.

"Certainly, there is a gap just after we play Rangers and I would expect something to materialise at that time."

There have been question marks about O'Neill's future at Celtic and he had been linked with moves to Manchester United and Leeds United.

But now it seems likely that he will stay with the club he supported as a boy.

O'Neill was delighted with the 8-1 win over the Lithuanians in the first round, first leg tie at Celtic Park.

"We will definitely go through," he said. "Even I can say that.

"We got sloppy at the end to concede a goal, but it was an excellent result. We could have had three before we got off the mark.


We didn't expect this kind of scoring against Celtic
Suduva coach Algimantas Gabrys
"The first-half performance was absolutely scintillating."

Asked if the result was indication that the Lithuanians were particularly poor, O'Neill replied: "In their match against Brann Bergen, they played some wonderful football.

"But Brann Bergen gave them too much room to play and suffered the consequences.

"And obviously they gave us too much room."

Suduva coach Algimantas Gabrys admitted that his side had no chance of overturning this deficit in the second leg.

He said: "We didn't expect to win the game playing here in Scotland, but we didn't expect this kind of scoring against Celtic.

"The referee made a few mistakes when Celtic scored the first goal and we lost confidence after that and they proved how strong they are."


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