Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Celtic played into our hands: Numan

Former Rangers full-back Arthur Numan admits he was happy to see Celtic winger Aiden McGeady named on the bench for Saturday's Old Firm derby.

Celtic manager Gordon Strachan insists he had no regrets about dropping the in-form McGeady for Shaun Maloney despite his side's 1-0 defeat at Ibrox.

The decision to hand Maloney his first Clydesdale Bank Premier League start for six months in a game that swung the title advantage towards Rangers has perplexed and angered Celtic fans.

Former Holland left-back Numan is well qualified to judge a good winger and he speaks highly of McGeady.

And although Numan claimed the opposition team sheet did not distract him before he played, he confessed to being relieved to see McGeady's name among the substitutes in his role as Rangers supporter.

"I was always concentrated and for me it didn't matter who I was playing against, but of course you know all about the strengths of McGeady," Numan said.

"He is skilful, he has pace, he brings something extra to the game, so I was happy he was on the bench, to be honest."

Numan, who today opened a 'learning garden' at the Scottish Centre for Children with Motor Impairments, added: "I heard after the game there were a lot of people surprised about McGeady not playing.

"I have always rated McGeady. I'm a fan of McGeady because he brings something extra to the game."

But he added: "Every manager picks the team which he thinks is the best team to get a result.

"Gordon Strachan had his own ideas about the team selection and he had a reason why he picked Maloney ahead of McGeady.

"It's always down to the manager and I'm sure he picked a team he thought would get a result against Rangers."

McGeady was man of the match during Celtic's Co-operative Insurance Cup final triumph over Rangers in March, but missed the victory at Ibrox in December as he served a two-week club suspension following a dressing-room row with the manager.

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