Sutton and McNamara may miss Cup showdown

CELTIC manager Martin O'Neill has admitted that Chris Sutton and Jackie McNamara were big doubts for Sunday's Old Firm Tennent's Scottish Cup showdown.

Teplice 1 Celtic 0 (Celtic win 3-1 on agg.)

The experienced pair limped out during their UEFA Cup third round tie in the Czech Republic, which they went through despite a 1-0 defeat in tonight's second leg.

O'Neill is already without John Hartson, Ulrik Laursen and Shaun Maloney for the rest of the season and the problems continue to mount for him. The Hoops boss said: "Chris has gone over on his ankle. He is pretty sore at the moment and I don't know what his chances are for Sunday at the moment. We will obviously travel back tonight and see if he needs an X-ray or something whether that's a precautionary thing I just wouldn't know. Those two are a problem. Jackie has a sore shin at the moment so I'll have to wait and see what happens."

O'Neill admitted that his side had produced one of their poorest performances this season but he insisted that his decision to play his strongest side ahead of the Old Firm clash had been justified after a nervous 1-0 defeat.

"I thought Teplice, having had a few big scalps beforehand in Kaiserslautern and Feyenoord, would approach it in a manner and come at us with everything. We were a bit tentative in the first-half and while you always feel that 3-0 is a very decent lead to have it took us some time to get to grips with the game. In the second half the object was to get through and that's what we have done. We have definitely played better in Europe.

"The lead was not insurmountable and in the back of our minds we felt we would be able to defend that. The idea was to score a goal which we were unable to do."

O'Neill also laughed off Hearts' proposals to play them in a Premier League match in Australia.

He quipped: "When I was told about this I thought it was a joke and I haven't given it much consideration.

"Are you telling me that we have to travel to Australia to play an SPL game and play at a cricket ground? It would take us four weeks." Teplice manager Frantisek Straka paid tribute to his side despite the 3-1 aggregate scoreline but was not so pleased with referee Tom Hennig Ovrebo for failing to award his side an early penalty for a handball by Bobo Balde.

He said: "As I said yesterday my team wanted to win, get a good result or at least a draw and also play as well as we can. "As you can see we did that and it could have been 1-0 after 10 minutes. Everyone could have seen it was a penalty kick because of a handball.

"But all the players and myself are happy that we won."

FK TEPLICE: Postulka, Leitner (Styvar 87), Rada, Tesarik, Verbir (Jakub Kolar 90), Dolezal, Skala, Hunal, Masek, Rilke (Ryska 74), Kuchar.

CELTIC: Douglas, McNamara (Valgaeren 84), Balde, Larsson, Thompson, Sutton (Pearson 68), Lambert, Agathe,Petrov, Varga, Kennedy.

Referee: Tom Ovrebo (Norway).

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