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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 29, 2008

Strachan not expecting any new signings

Celtic manager Gordon Strachan has all but ended his quest for new players before the transfer window closes, thus quashing speculation Hoops' legend Henrik Larsson could return to Parkhead.

Larsson, who scored 242 goals in 315 games for the club between 1997 and 2004, has been transfer-listed by Swedish side Helsingborgs, sparking rumours of a sensational return to Glasgow.

Strachan looks likely to be without his first-choice strikeforce Scott McDonald and Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink for Sunday's visit of Rangers, with Shaun Maloney - who returned to Celtic Park last Friday after an 18-month spell at Aston Villa - expected to start.

However, Strachan refused to even discuss Larsson, claiming it looked unlikely that he would be bringing anyone in before Monday night.

'It doesn't look great,' he said.

'I wouldn't get too excited if I was a Celtic supporter.

'Things have not materialised the way we would have liked.

'I thought that there might have been something but circumstances have changed, unless something jumps out at you, which is what happens at this time of the year.

'Someone you asked about who was £4million a couple of months ago will be thrown at you and you will asked if you want to take him on loan.

'That's what happens and you have to decide if it is worth it or not.'

While the start of the season has been dominated by controversial decisions and rows between managers and referees, Strachan has no fears about Dougie McDonald being in charge of the first Old Firm game of the season, which is sure to come under closer scrutiny than normal.

He said: 'The referees have been fine. They have not been a problem in the Old Firm games, they have been absolutely fantastic.

'So I don't see why it has to be a problem this week.

'There has been a couple of decisions here and there in the Old Firm games but you are going to get that.

'Big decisions for us, big decisions against us, but nothing that is untoward.'

Strachan insists the imminent visit of Rangers overshadows the excitement of the Champions League draw, which saw the Clydesdale Bank Premier League champions placed in Group E alongside holders Manchester United, Spanish side Villarreal and Danish club Aalborg.

Celtic met United in 2006-07, avenging a 3-2 defeat at Old Trafford with a 1-0 victory at Parkhead but Strachan has his own agenda this time.

The former Old Trafford player is looking to at least guide his side to the last-16 of the tournament for the third season in succession, a feat he believes would be 'fantastic'.

He said: 'Manchester United have grown up and become better so it's going to be a heck of a challenge but one we are looking forward to.

'We are (also) progressing quite nicely.

'Reaching the last 16 is a fantastic achievement. We are happy with that and if we get to that stage again, we will be more than delighted, I can assure you.'

Celtic have been boosted by the news Maloney will be fit for Sunday's clash.

The 25-year-old was injured in training during the week and was thought to be a doubt but Strachan said: 'He will be fine.'

The Celtic boss is less optimistic about McDonald and Vennegoor of Hesselink.

McDonald is nursing a groin injury, while his partner has stitches in a leg wound suffered last weekend.

'We will have to have a look at them,' Strachan said.

'Scott has the least chance of playing. Jan has a better chance but we need to look at his mobility.

'They are both big hearted and both will want to play but I might have to stop them.

'It would be great to have them all fit, because there is 51 goals between Scott and Jan.

'It's a lot to take out of your team but we get on with it.'

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