Main » 2009 » January » 3 » Celtic winger Aiden McGeady wins extra time to launch appeal
11:19:07 PM
Celtic winger Aiden McGeady wins extra time to launch appeal

Aiden McGeady has asked for an extension to the deadline for an appeal against the disciplinary sanctions - exclusion from first-team training and fine of two weeks' wages - imposed for his dressing room outburst at the Celtic manager, Gordon Strachan.

Celtic winger Aiden McGeady wins extra time to launch appeal
Jumping for joy: Aiden McGeady has more time in which to appeal Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Although nothing can be done about the training ban now that it has expired, McGeady can still appeal, either within the club or to the Scottish Premier League, against his loss of earnings.

Under normal circumstances, the matter would now be closed but it is understood that Celtic accepted the argument that the festive period made it difficult to fulfil the appeal process – which is written into the contract of every SPL player under employment law – and agreed to an extension until Friday, Jan 9.

The extension of the time limit does not mean that McGeady will definitely appeal. It may be that a decision depends on how he feels he has been treated since his return to training this week.

Celtic are at home to Dundee United on Saturday – a victory would put the league leaders 10 points clear of Rangers, who meet Caley Thistle in Inverness on Sunday – and when asked whether McGeady would feature, Strachan replied: "They are all there, everybody who is fit and available.

"You don't lose any base fitness in two weeks. Everybody who is in the squad has a chance of being involved."

However, McGeady looks likely to have a place on the bench at best, given the team's progress in his absence – consecutive wins on the road against Falkirk and Rangers – plus the return of Shunsuke Nakamura, who has recovered from the virus that kept him out of last weekend's Old Firm derby victory.

Meanwhile, questions about the future of Scott Brown, who has been reported as the likely target of a £9 million bid from Portsmouth, found Strachan in waspish mood. "If it's rumour or gossip, I can't do anything about that," he said.

"If there's a reality, we can talk about it. If not, it's a waste of time and I might as well talk about Martians."

The Celtic squad has been reinforced by the return of Marc Crosas and Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, both of whom were on the bench for the Rangers game – the Dutch forward appeared in the final minute – but Strachan saw no need to force their recuperation.

He said: "We're not too badly off for players. We have got the lads coming back but I have to emphasise they have been out for a long time, and to expect them to come back fit as fiddles, confidence high and playing the same way as they were when they went out is nearly impossible.

"So we have to gradually build them up and put them back when the time is right. Jan was out for about 14 weeks, and you have to remember that a close season is only about five weeks, so his absence was a long time by comparison."

With the exception of Nakamura, who is likely to replace his fellow countryman, Koki Mizuno, Celtic will probably start with the same side fielded against Rangers. Dundee United come to the east end of Glasgow with a record of three draws from two meetings with Rangers and one with Celtic this season.

They also approach this fixture off the back of five games without defeat – three wins and two draws to be precise – which have seen them overtake Hearts and move into third place in the table. Manager Craig Levein has said goodbye to Roy O'Donovan, the Irish forward who joined United from Sunderland on a year's loan spell last summer.

O'Donovan found it difficult to command a first team place at Tannadice and Ricky Sbragia, now in charge of Sunderland, recalled him, saying that "it would have been unfair to leave him there."

Lee Wilkie, Scott Robertson and Warren Feeney were all considered doubtful after sustaining injuries in the victory over Falkirk last weekend but the trio have been passed fit and will travel to a game for which United's recent form ensured that they sold out their ticket allocation – and would have taken more had there been any available.

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