Scottish champions-elect Celtic are on their way to New York and a summer meeting with Chelsea at the home of the New York Yankees.
Speculation is rife in Scotland that Neil Lennon’s team will take on the Londoners in Yankee Stadium in July, the first soccer game at the baseball stadium in 36 years.
Lennon’s side took a break from their league exploits to beat Dundee United 4-0 in the Scottish Cup quarterfinal on Sunday.
The Celtic boss again maintained his media ban after the game, speaking only to the BBC in protest at recent coverage of his comments regarding the crisis at Rangers.
“We decided not to hold a press conference this week because of all the nonsense going on elsewhere,” said Lennon.
“People are accusing our club of trying to put people out of work at Rangers. It’s in the hands of our legal team and it’s probably best not to talk about it.
“We want to get our heads down and we want to talk about football. A lot of media outlets will be disappointed because we won’t be speaking to them.
“We’ll do our speaking through the club. I’m angry but I’ll deal with it in my own way.”
Midfielder Joe Ledley did speak after the game and revealed that Lennon had blown his top at halftime.
“The manager wasn’t happy at the way we were playing in the first half and he made it clear in the team talk at halftime and we looked a totally different team in the second half and it was nice to get on the scoresheet,” said Ledley, who was joined on the scoresheet by Anthony Stokes and Georgios Samaras.
Lennon has spoken to Celtic’s own TV station of his expectations for the rest of the season with the league title all but sown up.
“I want to win the lot,” Lennon told Celtic TV. “That’s my focus and it has been for quite a while now. But it can all go on one day and that’s the edge you have to walk on.
Celtic defender Daniel Majstorovic has had surgery after rupturing the cruciate ligament in his left knee while on international duty.
Trap on McClean
GIOVANNI Trapattoni has again told James McClean that he is still in the running to feature in Ireland’s European Championship squad this summer -- sort of.
Trapattoni made the remark at a seminar for Euro 2012 coaches in Poland over the weekend.
“McClean is not important at the moment and he will have lots of opportunities in the future to play many, many games. We change things slowly but he is a good young player so at this moment I have not made any decision,” said Trapattoni.
“We have a good squad and the competition for him is tough as we have McGeady, Duff, Hunt and many players for this situation.
“But we are following him because he is young and his mentality is very strong, so I have not decided at this moment if he can participate in the Euros or not.”
Trap also confirmed that Richard Dunne will be fit for the championships as he recovers from recent shoulder surgery.
“I spoke to Richard and he assured me that he will be ready for the last two games of the season. Also the doctor said that Richard should be ready before the end of the season,” said the Italian.
SHAMROCK Rovers came from a goal down to beat Monaghan United 3-1 at Tallaght Stadium on Friday night. Cork City suffered a shock 3-2 defeat at home to Drogheda while Derry were impressive in a 4-0 win at Bray.
Dundalk were upset 2-0 at home by St. Patrick’s Athletic, while Shelbourne won the Dublin derby 2-0 at Bohs and Sligo left it late to beat UCD 2-1 at the Showgrounds.
IRISH international midfielder Keith Andrews is close to signing a two year deal with West Brom after his recent move from Blackburn Rovers . . .
IRISH goalkeeper Stephen Henderson has left cash strapped Portsmouth and signed for Championship promotion contenders West Ham . . .
IRELAND boss Giovanni Trapattoni has laughed off interest from Ukrainian side Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk . . .
WEST Brom’s former Irish international Steven Reid is to miss the rest of the season with an ankle injury.
Rory McIlroy can’t wait for the Masters at Augusta next month after a whirlwind finish to the WGC-Cadillac Championship in Miami on Sunday.
The 22-year-old Ulsterman maintained his place at the top of the world ratings with a brilliant final 18 holes to finish third behind England’s Justin Rose.
He is now top of the $10 million FedEx standings as well, and in flying form ahead of his return to Augusta for the first time since last year’s epic collapse on the last day of the tournament.
With injury doubts surrounding Tiger Woods and his participation in the Masters, McIlroy will be favorite in many people’s eyes to win the first major of the year.
McIlroy said on Sunday, “Even when I don’t feel like I am playing my best, the biggest improvement in my game is being able to turn those 71s and 72s into 69s or 68s and keep yourself in a tournament.”
With three wins and 12 top five finishes from his last 13 starts, McIlroy deserves to be on top of the world rankings as he prepares for a week’s work on the range with coach Michael Bannon ahead of Augusta.
“You learn a lot from previous experiences. Last year’s Masters was a big one for me,” added McIlroy.
“I think the U.S. Open gave me the confidence to know that I was doing the right things and that I could win the biggest tournaments.
“And confidence, it can do massive things for your game. Even if you’re not playing that great, if you still have confidence in yourself it makes a big difference.”
The Irishman also hopes to see a fit Woods at the Masters.
“I really hope he’s healthy for the Masters, because obviously it would be a great week with him there.
Tiger Woods has been the face of golf for the last 15 years. It feels like he’s coming back to his best or something near his best, so it’s great for the game,” said McIlroy.