Sunday, October 26, 2008

Celtic's Stephen McManu not interested in critics after Champions League defeat

Celtic powerfull defender Stephen McManus brushed aside the adverse media reaction which followed Tuesday's Champions League defeat by the mercyless Manchester United at Old Trafford.

The Scottish current champions lost 3-0 in a one-sided encounter that had most pundits - and many Hoops fans - discussing the gap that has appeared to have grown between the two clubs since they met at the same stage of the tournament two seasons ago.

Celtic, without an away win in the competition in 19 attempts, are bottom of Group E with one point and are now battling with Danish side Aalborg for a UEFA Cup spot rather than looking to qualify for the knockout stages for the third season in succession.

However, ahead of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash with Hibernian at Parkhead, the Scotland defender was in no mood for the Manchester post mortem to continue.

"We are not really interested in what's been written to be perfectly honest," he said.

"We are just interested in the game tomorrow.

"It's evident, it's obvious, you don't need people to tell you. So as far as we are concerned, the Manchester United game is done.

"In football you always look to the next game, we move on and we give respect to Hibs.

"Hibs have been playing reasonably well recently and they will be excited about coming to our place.

"It's going to be a very tough game but we are up for it."

Indeed, McManus will come up against former team-mate Derek Riordan who returned to Easter Road in the summer after failing to pin down a regular first team spot at Parkhead following his move to Celtic two years ago.

But the big Scotland defender insists Riordan will not be the only threat to the champions.

"Derek will play the best that he can for himself and his club, that's what you do in football", McManus said.

"He's a good finisher but Steven Fletcher is a good finisher, Colin Nish is a good finisher and Dean Shiels can pop up with a few goals, so they can score which is the hardest thing in football.

"But we are capable of scoring goals as well, so we look forward to it."

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