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Strachan defends team selection
Strachan defends team selection

Strachan has no regrets over Old Firm team selection

Celtic manager Gordon Strachan says he has no regrets over his team selection following Saturday's Old Firm defeat.

Winger Aiden McGeady was dropped to the bench for the 1-0 loss, with Shaun Maloney making his first league start since December after an injury lay-off.

McGeady replaced Maloney after an hour but could not prevent the SPL champions falling two points behind their rivals.

Asked if he had any regrets over his starting 11 at Ibrox, Strachan replied: "None whatsoever."

The Old Firm defeat saw Celtic slip back to second place in the table, with Rangers holding a two-point lead with three games remaining.

Former Celtic midfielder Murdo MacLeod told BBC Scotland on Monday that he was surprised McGeady started the game on the bench.

"I think many of the attacking options were lost because McGeady wasn't playing," MacLeod said.

"Shaun was not match fit - whereas McGeady gives you flair, pace and width - to leave him out was a surprise."

McGeady was censured by the club in December when a dressing-room row cost the 22-year-old two weeks' wages and saw him banned from playing for a fortnight.

Shaun Maloney took McGeady's place on the wing for Celtic against Rangers
Maloney (left) took McGeady's place for the defeat at Ibrox

But he forced his way back into the side and was instrumental in the side's Co-operative Insurance Cup final win over Rangers at Hampden in March.

The Republic of Ireland international found himself on the bench at Ibrox as Maloney started his first SPL game since December after returning from a troublesome hamstring injury.

Strachan said it was crucial his side secure maximum points against Dundee United on Tuesday, with league leaders Rangers facing Hibs at Easter Road 24 hours later.

"If we handle the pressure against United the same way as we did on Saturday - in terms of playing, commitment, drive, pride, imagination, variation in play - then I won't have a problem," said Strachan.

"It will all be down to scoring goals then."

Strachan felt his side were "unfortunate" not to take anything from the Old Firm game at Ibrox and said he could not ask for any more from his players.

"That's the best we've played against Rangers in the league this season," he said. "You must score goals to win games of football."

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