O’Neill brands Pars chairman ‘ignorant’

Dunfermline 0 Celtic 3

Yorkston claimed Bobo Balde had injured more players than the controversial East End Park playing surface. He tried to play down the comments as a joke following his side's Tennent's Scottish Cup fourth-round defeat, but Celtic boss O'Neill was having none of it. O'Neill launched into an angry tirade against Yorkston, who in the past has accused Celtic of ruining their bid to sign Taribo West and made remarks about Chris Sutton.

"His comments are disgraceful," said O'Neill. "I think he should be hauled in front of the SFA because it is simply not true. It is a disgraceful comment about a player you can't say that. We didn't hear it before the game and I'm pleased we didn't.

"It's an ignorant comment for someone to make and he has made one or two ignorant comments in the past.

"I've just spoken to my chairman about it. I imagine most players would be horrified. John Yorkston's comments are disgraceful. I don't think I have met him but I know a bit ago he accused us of messing up the Taribo West thing but I never spoke to Taribo West.

"It was a disgraceful comment for a chairman to make about an opposition player." O'Neill added: "I believe something should be done about those comments from a chairman who himself was demanding his pound of flesh and umpteen apologies from Chris Sutton (when they lost the title to Rangers on final day of season). I want a bigger apology for this."

Yorkston insisted afterwards that his comments on the BBC had been blown out of proportion and did not feel it necessary to make an apology.

"What I said was tongue in cheek," he said. "It was meant as a joke and everybody who heard the interview would have taken it as a joke. Are you not allowed to have a joke these days? It was said as a joke simple as that. This is growing arms and legs and I am not going to respond."

The club's mascot also came out prior to the game in bandages to poke fun at Celtic striker Craig Bellamy, who missed the game over fears of an injury, but Yorkston responded: "I haven't a clue about that."

O'Neill also took a swipe at the controversial plastic surface. A John Hartson double and Chris Sutton goal made it a comfortable afternoon but the pitch was still a problem.

"I'm not sure the majority of their team wants to play on this surface and are happy with the pitch," said O'Neill. "I thought we were terrific considering the concern over the pitch but we adapted pretty well and our attitude was fantastic. Overall the surface is not conducive to playing football."

DUNFERMLINE: Stillie, Darren Young (Hunt 45), Scott Wilson (Hristov 54), Skerla, Scott Thomson, Nicholson, Mason, Makel, Ross, Christiansen, Tod.

CELTIC: Douglas, Henchoz, Balde, Varga, Laursen, Petrov (Lambert 77), Lennon, Thompson (Juninho Paulista 57), McGeady, Sutton, Hartson (Wallace 75).

Referee: C Richmond (Scotland).

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