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By ESPN Staff
Jan 14, 2006

Strachan intent on keeping Petrov

Celtic manager Gordon Strachan has revealed Stilian Petrov will be allowed to see out the remaining 18 months of his contract and then walk away from the club for nothing.

Strachan would rather accept that than cash in on the Bulgarian in this transfer window or in the summer because he wants to work with him for as long as possible.

Gary Caldwell is ready to sign his pre-contract agreement and Strachan confirmed the Hibernian captain will sign in the summer, with Mark Wilson due to complete his move from Dundee United next week.

But not for the first time in Petrov's six-and-a-half years in Glasgow, it is the future of the brilliant midfielder which most concerns the Celtic supporters.

Strachan said: 'I never met a happier bunny in my life than Stan.

'He has been magnificent in the two days training since he has come back from injury.

'I think now the pressure is off and all the talk of will he, won't he will stop it should make things better.

'He is now more relaxed about it, as am I. We know where we are going and Stilian is more than delighted to play 18 months with us. I am more than happy with that. He didn't enjoy the media pressure all the time and I can see the difference.

'It is only real top clubs who could do anything. Celtic fans can rest assured that it is only these top clubs who could sign him.

'We feel it is more beneficial for Stilian to stay for 18 months. People might say that it could be worth selling him in a couple of months, but it is not.

'We are better having the use of him for 18 months so he can make us better and successful. Life would be easier for us all.

'You never give up hope of him staying longer, but I hope this is the last we talk about this for a long time.

'It's not going to he hard to hold on to Stilian. I have spoken to all the people involved and that won't be the case. It is a pleasure having him here.'

While Strachan would not speak about Wilson, he did confirm Caldwell would be a Celtic player in the summer.

Strachan revealed: 'I met with Gary and spoke with Rod Petrie and Tony Mowbray three or four times.

'It will be the summer and Gary understands that as well and he is cool with that.

'It's nobody's fault. It's just circumstance. Tony wants to keep him there and I understand where he is coming from.

'I was in the same position myself at Aberdeen when I had six months to go before I left but I was fortunate I had smashing players around me and we won the league and cup.'