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Own goal for ex-Celtic player Miller who was mistaken about 'snipers' at Linfield's Windsor Park ground

By Aaron Tinney

Former Celtic star Joe Miller has admitted his story about being targeted by snipers at Windsor Park stadium was a "mistake".

Miller last week said in an interview with a Scottish daily newspaper there were assassins aiming rifles at players during a friendly game against his Aberdeen side in the 1990s.

Appearing to refer to laser beams attached to rifles, Miller (49) said about an alleged match in Belfast: "There were red dots on us for the whole 90 minutes."

He has now said he wrongly believed the game had taken place at Windsor Park, home of Linfield.

Miller also claimed he and several team-mates had been abused outside a pub near the ground.

The Daily Record, which initially carried Miller's statements, contacted the player after a furious Linfield questioned the statements made in his interview.

Miller, now assistant manager at Dundalk FC, subsequently insisted it was not a friendly match to which he was referring, but a training game with no official result.

He added he was regretful over the row and insisted his remarks weren't intended to offend.

Miller said yesterday: "During an interview last week with several members of the Scottish Press I recounted an event, but I got the grounds mixed up. I realise that now.

"I mistakenly thought it was Windsor Park, but it wasn't.

"This event occurred over 25 years ago and my memory has let me down. I apologise to Linfield Football Club for any offence taken.

"These comments weren't intended to be a slight on the club or their fans."

On Monday Linfield FC released a statement stressing the club had never played Aberdeen.

The club also noted that, in the 1990s, Windsor Park was "wholly enclosed from any surrounding streets", which would have made it impossible for snipers to aim laser beams at players.

In a furious statement released on Monday night, the club lambasted "hysterical articles that have appeared in the Press over the last few days" following Miller's interview.

The club said their response was to a "particularly regrettable piece" that appeared in the Scottish Daily Record on Saturday.

Linfied added: "Given that neither the then-RUC nor the British Army carried lasers fitted to their weapons as standard, and that in 1995 it would be some years before laser pointers became easily available and affordable to members of the public, one wonders where, exactly, these red dots may have appeared from in this match that didn't actually happen."

The club concluded their statement by saying Miller's account of events was "demonstrably untrue" and confirmed they had instructed solicitors to write to Miller and the Daily Record.

In the article, Miller also said an intimidating confrontation had taken place outside a pub, which Linfield also questioned. He claimed: "Roy, myself, big Derek Whyte and Tommy Craig were walking along the road and Roy was carrying the balls. They all flooded out of a pub at the top of the street, so we just continued walking while they were all shouting and bawling at us.

"So it can be intimidating and the timing of when the game (a Champions League match between Celtic and Linfield on July 14) goes ahead is a difficult one. It would probably be better for everybody's safety to hold the tickets back. That will ensure everybody gets through this unscathed. You don't want trouble or any bother, no matter what it's over.

"You've got to see the club's point of view. There are elements there so it could be a powder-keg or it might be a damp squib. You don't know, you just have to see how it goes."

The Daily Record last night removed the interview with Miller from its website, but did not reply to questions from the Belfast Telegraph about the furore.

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