Football : OLD BHOY MACARI ON CELTS SIGNING WOES; Q: Do You Want to Play for a Fantastic Club with a Fantastic History Who Have Chance of Champion League? A: No Thanks Gord

The Mirror (London, England), July 9, 2005 | Go to article overview
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Football : OLD BHOY MACARI ON CELTS SIGNING WOES; Q: Do You Want to Play for a Fantastic Club with a Fantastic History Who Have Chance of Champion League? A: No Thanks Gord


Byline: Michael BAILLIE

IF he was in any doubt before, Gordon Strachan has quickly found out the difficulties of getting players to turn their back on the Premiership for the SPL.

As Celtic unveiled their new Nike kit, the Parkhead boss was asked if he had found potential signing targets were not keen to opt for life in Scotland.

Strachan thought for a second then replied: "It depends on what you want to do in life. Do you want to play for a fantastic club with a fantastic history and the chance to play in the Champions League?"If you thrive on that then this is the place to be."

Celtic had hoped the lure of the Champions League would swing Craig Bellamy's transfer in their favour and Strachan said the striker stressed he was desperate to move to Parkhead.

Which is why Celtic fans were baffled when the Welshman signed a four-year deal with Premiership strugglers Blackburn Rovers rather than stay with the Hoops.

Some sections of the support have accused the club of heading back to the penny-pinching days of the 1980-90s, but ex-boss Lou Macari insists the club are a million miles away from that era.

In his eight months in the Parkhead managerial hotseat Macari was told he had to sell before he could buy.

These days Celtic are trying to keep their spending under control but still freed the funds to sign Polish international Maciej Zurawski for pounds 2million.

Macari said: "It's completely different to the situation when I was manager. Then Celtic was on its knees, the club didn't have any money and if I wanted to bring in anyone then I had to sell first.

"Depending on the money I sold them for I could maybe use half of it. I flogged Gerry Crainey for pounds 700,000 and I was allowed to use 50 per cent of it. So comparing that to today, it is miles apart.

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