Sat, Aug 26, 2006 - Page 18 News List

Fan jeers hold no fears for Caldwell


Celtic defender Gary Caldwell insists he is looking forward to playing against his former club Hibernian for the first time today -- despite knowing he will be booed by the opposing fans.

The Scottish international joined the Glasgow club in June, after signing a pre-contract deal in January while still with the Edinburgh team.

Though Hibs Tony Mowbray decided to back Caldwell and keep him as captain for the rest of the season, a section of the club's supporters were not as understanding and jeered whenever he touched the ball.

Today he will face his old side for the first time, but he is not worried about the reception he will receive.

"I am looking forward to playing Hibs. I still speak to a lot of the lads there and I was close with the manager Tony Mowbray," he said.

"It will be good to see them again but come kick-off I'll be doing my best to win the match. The fans might boo me but I doubt I'll even hear them to be honest as they only get a tiny corner of the ground," Caldwell said.

double signing

On Thursday Celtic manager Gordon Strachan strengthened his squad when he completed the signings of Dutchman Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink from PSV Eindhoven, for almost ?3.5 million, and left-back Lee Naylor from Wolves, for ?600,000.

Though Vennegoor of Hesselink will not be available for today's game, after returning to Holland to prepare for his move, Naylor is in line to make his debut as Celtic try to leapfrog Rangers into top spot, for a day at least.

Tomorrow Rangers will have the opportunity to retain their current position if they win away to Kilmarnock.

However, manager Paul Le Guen will almost certainly be without winger Chris Burke who injured his ankle in a friendly match against Zenit St Petersburg on Wednesday at Ibrox.

The game, which the Russians won 4-1, had been arranged as part of the year long loan deal for Ranger's Fernando Rickson and ironically it was the Dutch defender whose rash tackle injured Burke.

Le Guen fears his player could be out for a considerable time as a similar injury in pre-season kept him out for a month.

The French manager said: "I'm not worried about the result but it's worrying about Burke as it was the same ankle he injured before. These things happen in football though and I don't blame Fernando."

Hearts, meanwhile, will be looking to bounce back from their crushing defeat in the Champions League qualifiers on Wednesday, where they lost 5-1 on aggregate to AEK Athens.

title ambitions

Today they play host to Inverness Caledonian Thistle and will be desperate for a win to maintain their title ambitions.

Aberdeen will also hope to recover from an embarrassing defeat when they play host to Dunfermline. On Tuesday the Dons were knocked out of the Scottish League Cup by Scottish Third Division amateur side Queens Park on penalties.

In the remaining Scottish Premier League matches today bottom of the table Motherwell will look for their first points of the season away to Falkirk and St Mirren will play host to Dundee United.

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