Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Tony Mowbray stunned by McGhee spat

Tony Mowbray was shocked to hear Mark McGhee had been spat upon by angry Aberdeen fans just days after the Dons had dented Celtic's Scottish Premier League title hopes.

McGhee was a hero last Saturday when his side came from behind three times to draw 4-4 with the Hoops at Pittodrie.

However, after being knocked out of the Scottish Cup by First Division side Raith Rovers on Tuesday night, he was spat at by angry Pittodrie supporters as he made his way to the dressing rooms.

The Celtic manager has been subject to criticism from some Hoops fans as rivals Rangers have opened up a 10-point gap in recent weeks, but he was taken aback by news of the physical abuse that McGhee had to endure.

Speaking ahead of the visit of Dundee United, he said: “That's a shocking thing you have just told me. I didn't know that was the case, but I don't think anyone has the right to spit on anyone else.

“Managers are all hard-working guys. I sat with Mark after the game and from being dead and buried they came back to get a point so emotionally he was quite high and excited and yet there you go, three days later he is having to suffer that — welcome to football management.

“It is a tough job. The days when you play really well and score goals are great, the days when it ain't going so well is when you find out about your players and find out about yourself.”

While Mowbray knows that one more slip-up could take the title out of his reach, the importance of Champions League money to the Old Firm was highlighted again just this week.

Failure to qualify for this season's tournament was reflected in the Parkhead side's balance sheet which showed a decrease in turnover of almost 23% for the six months to the end of 2009, while bank debt increased from £0.97million to £3.13million.

Conversely, by qualifying for the tournament as champions, for the same time period Rangers posted a profit of £13million.

Yet more pressure is set to heaped on both Old Firm clubs with the news that Scotland is set to lose one of its Champions League places.

From the 2011/12 season, only the SPL title winners will have a chance to participate in the lucrative group stages which are generally thought to be worth £10 million.

However, Mowbray appeared relaxed about the issue of finances.

He said: “The Champions League is for the supporters coming to see our team compete against the best teams in the world, not necessarily about the millions that come with it.

“I don't know what finances would be available but we are constantly scouring the world for players and there is enough evidence to suggest that you don't have to spend £10million or £20 million to get good players.”

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