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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug, 31, 2009

Mowbray keen to show fans his squad's spirit

Tony Mowbray revealed Celtic's post-match huddle after the 1-0 win over Hibernian was a gesture for the Hoops' fans to mark the spirit shown by his players.

The Hoops hung on for three points at Easter Road despite playing the last half-hour with 10 men.

Georgios Samaras headed the visitors into the lead just before the interval but the latter stages of the second half were fraught after midfielder Aiden McGeady was controversially sent off.

The Republic of Ireland star was booked in the first half for a foul on Derek Riordan and picked up a second caution from Dougie McDonald after the referee adjudged him to have taken a dive when challenged on the touchline by Hibs defender Paul Hanlon.

Mowbray is credited with introducing the huddle to Celtic Park from his time as a player in the 1990s but it was something of a surprise to see him join in with his players in the bonding ritual in the middle of the pitch after the game.

However, the Celtic manager, who vigorously denied McGeady was a cheat, explained: "It is not the first time I've done it. I did it maybe three or four times with my West Brom team, just in big games where the team has needed to show a resilience.

"It is to bond with the supporters and show that we all got the result together. I think it is important that, when you have opportunities like that, you shouldn't miss them.''

McGeady's dismissal, though, will provide the talking point from the game for the rest of the week.

The decision outraged the Celtic bench, who were similarly upset on Wednesday night in the Champions League play-offs when they had been the victim of an apparent dive by Arsenal striker Eduardo.

The Croatian has since been charged by UEFA for 'deceiving the referee' and could be set for a retrospective ban.

The Celtic boss fumed: "If the Eduardo situation had not been blown up so big nationally, 99 times out of 100, maybe even 100 out of 100, it would never have been a yellow card.

"I think the referee has been influenced by the diving situation. Is it a dive? Never in a million years.''

Mowbray hopes to bring in a new face to his squad before the transfer window closes but he does not think that either McGeady, Scott Brown or Scott McDonald, all of whom have been linked with a move out of Parkhead in recent weeks, will be sold.

However, the Celtic boss refused to categorically rule the possibility out.

He said: "Someone might offer £80m for one of them and then we would have to consider. If we think it is right for me to build a team then we would have to listen but I would suggest that is not the case.''

Hibs manager John Hughes had some sympathy for referee McDonald.

He said: "We have one of the best referees in Scotland out there, Dougie McDonald, but you see these things at the beginning of the season and I'm sure things will settle down.

"But who would be a referee? They have a split second to make a decision.''

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