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Motherwell 2 Celtic 3

South Korea midfielder Ki Sung Yueng has signed a four-year contract with Celtic and will join the Parkhead club on January 1, 2010, in a deal reportedly worth around £2million.

Ki, 20, was granted the required work permit on Friday and is expected to meet the Celtic squad towards the end of December.

The player has recently been named the Asian young player of the year and has made 17 international appearances, playing in every game in South Korea's World Cup qualifying campaign on route to South Africa 2010.

“I am absolutely delighted to sign for Celtic, a football club with a tremendous history and one which is known throughout the world,” he said.

“I know that Celtic has some of the best supporters in the world and I will be doing all I can to show these fans what I can do and give everything as part of a team which will aim to achieve more and more success.

“When I lived in Australia, my football coach there was a Celtic supporter and through him I really became interested in the club.

“It is now a dream come true for me to join this great club — already, Celtic has shown me a tremendous welcome and I really do now feel part of the Celtic family. I look forward to teaming up with my new manager and team-mates and I will be working hard towards achieving all I can for Celtic.”

Celtic manager Tony Mowbray added: “We are very pleased to announce the signing of Ki and we are sure he is a player who has the potential to make an impact at Celtic. We have watched the player in action already and believe that he has some real qualities.

“He is a young man, but someone who we believe has the ability and character to do well for the club. We will be doing all we can to ensure that he can fulfil his potential at Celtic.”

Mowbray, meanwhile will sleep on a selection dilemma ahead of Thursday's meaningless Europa League game against Austrians Rapid Vienna.

Celtic conclude their failed campaign with their final Group C game in Austria before returning to face Hearts in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at Tynecastle on Sunday.

The Parkhead men travel with confidence after Saturday's 3-2 victory at Motherwell registered their fourth win in a row for the first time this season, which kept them two points clear of Old Firm rivals Rangers at the top of the SPL table.

Significantly, perhaps, for the first time since he took over in the summer, Mowbray stayed with the same starting XI for the second league game in succession.

However, arguably the biggest boost the former West Brom manager received was the sight of £3.8million summer signing Marc-Antoine Fortune coming off the bench to score a second-half winner — his first goal since a double against St Johnstone in August preceded a two-month spell out with a knee injury.

The Celtic boss will spend the next few days considering whether to keep with a winning team against Rapid — or go back to tinkering with his line-up.

“I will sleep on it,” Mowbray said. “It's whether we keep the same sort of team going, keep the belief and confidence of the side and hopefully continue to win or whether we totally focus on next Sunday at Tynecastle.

“It's not the time to let you know my thoughts but as I say next Sunday is my main focus, not Thursday.

“At the moment we are doing well so Marco has to bide his time.

“But it's good that we have a striker like him who can hurt the opposition, sitting on the bench.”

In an absorbing encounter played in freezing fog, Georgios Samaras' 14th-minute opener was cancelled out before the interval by goals by Lukas Jutkiewicz and Well skipper Mark Reynolds.

Aiden McGeady levelled in the 51st minute with a wonderful strike before Celtic midfielder Barry Robson had his weak penalty saved by keeper John Ruddy.

Belfast Telegraph


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