Sports Digest: Rory McIlroy is king of the world
Ulsterman enjoys number one status
The Italian added, “It was a reward for him and McGeady and Duff were doing well so there was no need to change and I wanted to show them my confidence, but I told McClean I wanted to play with him in the future also.
“We have time, every week we have injury or not, so what happens is we will continue with our team, so at the end of the league we have time to decide.”
CELTIC’S long winning run finally came to an end in the 1-1 draw at Aberdeen on Saturday, but midfielder Joe Ledley is backing the Scottish Champions elect to bounce back.
Anthony Stokes gave Celtic an early lead in their search for a 21st straight domestic win, but his goal was cancelled out when Hoops debutant Andre Blackman turned the ball past his own goalkeeper as he tried to block a Gavin Rae shot.
Ledley said: “We obviously wanted to continue our form and get the win but it didn’t happen for us against Aberdeen. We know we didn’t perform as well as we can do. The record has gone but there are still trophies to be won.
“It shows just how far we have come as a team that we are disappointed with a point. We have to give credit to Aberdeen as they played some good football. We know we have to bounce back with a win next weekend.”
Celtic boss Neil Lennon refused to criticize his players for their performance in the lunchtime game.
He said, “I don’t know who scheduled the game but that has certainly not done us any favors. I think that has played as much part as Aberdeen’s performance in this run ending.
“The result is no surprise considering the call-offs and the schedules that the players have had this week with international games. It is obvious that they are tired, mentally and physically.
“I’m not overly disappointed, in fact I’m immensely proud of the players for the run they have been on.”
THE Irish players have accepted an offer from the FAI for bonus payments after qualifying for the European Championships – and will receive less than the 2002 World Cup squad.
An FAI statement confirmed, “The Football Association of Ireland and the players have confirmed that they agreed qualification bonuses after a constructive and brief meeting.
“During the discussions, the players emphasized the immense honor and pride which they feel in representing the country through this and previous campaigns.
“The players thanked the FAI for their professionalism and preparations which are made around the international squad.
“In recognition of the wider economic climate, the players were happy to agree to a reduction in qualification payments made in 2002.
“On behalf of all strands of the sport, the Football Association of Ireland thanks the players for their readiness to accept a reduction.”
SHAMROCK Rovers got their defense of the Airtricity League crown off to a perfect start as two Gary Twigg goals secured a 2-1 win away to Drogheda United on Friday night.
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